Arrival

It’s hard to adequately describe the immensity of the ambition of Denis
Villeneuve‘s “Arrival,” a film that dances with concepts so colossal they’ve
rather obliterated most of the previous films that have attempted to grapple
with them (Robert Zemeckis‘ “Contact” and Christopher Nolan‘s “Interstellar”
come to mind). But “Arrival,” the shimmering apex of Villeneuve’s run of form
that started back in 2010 with “Incendies,” calmly, unfussily and with superb
craft, thinks its way out of the black hole that tends to open up when ideas like
time travel, alien contact and the next phase of human evolution are bandied
about. A great deal of the credit must go to the remarkable short story on
which Eric Heisserer‘s restrained script is based (“The Story of Your Life” by Ted Chiang), but it’s Villeneuve’s dedicated intelligence that brings it off the page and onto the screen with an apparent simplicity that connotes a refreshing
faith not just in the material, but in the audience.

https://youtu.be/tFMo3UJ4B4g

It’s a monolith, a megalith,
but like the gigantic alien craft that comes to rest somewhere above Montana
at the start of the film, despite its immensity it hovers elegantly overhead. The
film defies gravity.
Unlikely though it is that many will be going to a Denis Villeneuve film expecting
a thuddunking alien shoot-em-up, let’s state for the record that while on a
higher level the story offers a desperately hopeful possibility of escape (for
humanity, I’m not even kidding), it is anything but escapist. The moment you
realize “Arrival” might force you to engage in that most un-blockbustery of
activities — thinking — is when the first signal comes from the beings in the
craft, and it looks like a coffee mug ring crossed with a Rorschach ink blot. This
is a language, explains Amy Adams‘ beautifully human Dr. Louise Banks, the
linguistics expert more or less pulled from her bed by the military to try and
establish communication, in which the written form bears no relationship to
sounds, only meanings. This is already a tough principle for native speakers of
any language that uses an alphabet to get their heads around, and it’s hinted
that perhaps the Chinese, who also have a spaceship hovering over their
territory (there are 12 in total), have a quicker grasp on it, and communicate via
mah jong tiles. But wait, there’s more! — the reason the alien language has no
relationship to sound is because sound is temporal (as in, it takes time to talk)
and these “sentences” are structured atemporally (hence the circular nature,
presumably) with all concepts existing at the same time. Whether you find
these relatively arcane linguistics theories at all sexy will no doubt determine your mileage with “Arrival” but to some of us there’s a thrilling beauty in this
idea alone.
Arrival takes a great approach to the alien contact concept. It showcases the
flaws of humanity and also the intricacies of linguistics. The cast, while small,
works incredibly well together and creates some awesome chemistry. The
soundtrack is a crazy orchestral soundtrack that creates a duper dramatic
feeling for most scenes. The end of the movie deals with some really complex
conceptual sci-fi kind of stuff but instead of treating it like an actual sci-fi it
instead takes on this much more serious tone. I feel like the main character
deteriorates by the end of the film in comparison to her start as well. Solid but
generally not quite compelling enough to draw in the audience.

tunisianyouth

Tunisian Youth is a blog and an online monthly magazine

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tunisianyouth

Tunisian Youth is a blog and an online monthly magazine

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