If you think you don’t like sci-fi, think again, this is a superb and thoughtful, complex film that uses aliens as a metaphor for immigrants and explores communication, both interplanetary and intra-planetary, as well as human grief and its effects, and is described as a ‘poetic vision’ by Mark Kermode. It was one of the nine films nominated for an Oscar as Best Film and won a technical award for sound editing but, unaccountably, Amy Adams was not nominated. However, she was nominated for both a Golden Globe and BAFTA.
When mysterious spacecraft touch down across the globe, an elite team, lead by expert linguist Louise Banks (Amy Adams) are brought together to investigate. As mankind teeters on the verge of global war, Banks and the team race against time for answers and to find them, she will take a chance that could threaten her life, and quite possibly humanity.
Adams is one of the best actresses Hollywood has, though few who first felt the glow of her full-beam charisma in Enchanted or The Muppets could have foreseen the supreme subtlety and screwed-down focus of her work here. Villeneuve’s superb cinematographer, Bradford Young (Selma, A Most Violent Year), lingers on Adams’ face, because Arrival is a film that values the human reaction to something eerie or wondrous as much as the eeriness or wondrousness itself. The film was shot in the summer of 2015, but its depiction of a world unwilling to communicate, and conception of communication itself as something that can be withheld, like trade sanctions, feels presciently relevant.
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Venue: William Loveless Hall