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Arrival Review

By Harvey Gough

‘Arrival’ is an expertly crafted and visually stunning masterpiece. 

‘Arrival’, the newest film by director Denis Villeneuve, is a film that is incredibly difficult to write about. To attempt to explain its plot, past the most basic details, would be doing it a disservice. The plot revolves around alien contact with earth, with a number of vessels spread out over various locations across the globe (including one in Devon…), which forces humanity to attempt to figure out the aliens’ intentions, with help from language expert Louise Banks (Amy Adams).

The film is complex and at times confusing, however it never feels overly pretentious or artsy. To those who visit the cinema simply as a form of escapism, this film will work wonderfully, managing to entertain throughout. Similarly, for those who go to appreciate the subtler elements of the art of film, ‘Arrival’ is one of the most original and interesting films in recent memory.

The film’s director, Denis Villeneuve (known for films such as ‘Sicario’ and ‘Prisoners’), has now firmly established himself as an extremely competent director who is able to craft stories with precision and depth. Like ‘Sicario’, this film has the capacity to build tension expertly in certain scenes, with amazing results. As well as this, every shot seems hand crafted and perfected, with amazing results

The film contains a fairly small cast, starring Amy Adams (known for films such as ‘American Hustle’ and ‘Man of Steel’) and Jeremy Renner (who stars in films such as ‘The Hurt Locker’ and ‘The Avengers’), as well as a great supporting cast with actors such as Forest Whitaker. The film contains solid performances from all involved, with Amy Adams acting amazingly (as usual). Her ability to convey emotion and make it clear exactly what she is thinking, through just subtle facial expressions is consistently impressive. Jeremy Renner is also brilliant with a performance which allows him to show off his talent as an actor.

The final aspect of ‘Arrival’ that needs to be mentioned is the film’s cinematography. This film is beautiful. Almost every scene is impressive in some way. Sweeping shots of amazing landscapes are visually stunning, whilst many of the smaller scenes within their own setting are somehow equally beautiful, in their own interesting and breath-taking way. The design of elements such as the alien vessel, which is subtle and mysterious, as well as the presentation of the aliens themselves, is truly impressive. Aspects such as these never seem over the top, whilst also remaining interesting and believable.

‘Arrival’ has left me with a number of different aspects to consider and I am much looking forward to a second viewing in future. I am sure with repeat viewings, the film will give viewers more aspects to consider, as it is so expertly crafted. This film is, in my opinion, the best film of the year so far and one of my new all-time favourite films ever, which will hopefully receive the recognition it deserves, come this year’s awards season.