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I'm finally back at it guys with a review of Arrival. This 2016 blockbuster is directed by the best "up-and-coming" filmmakers in the business right now, Denis Villeneuve. Aliens have just landed on Earth with the intent to, we have no idea actually. Earth is in a panic as people fear for the unknown. Eight objects have just landed around the world, including one in the United States. Dr. Louise Banks (Amy Adams) has been chosen to be the translator for our new alien "friends". She is a linguist that's called upon to bridge the language gap. Theoretical physicist Ian Donnelly is also brought on board to help in assisting Dr. Louise.Together they have to find out why the aliens have come to Earth and if they are here to kill or help us.
Arrival is one of those rare movies that keeps you engaged the whole time, even if it has its slow moments. The first act of the film has a lot of set up and explanation of the best ways of communicating with these aliens from a different world. A discovery in the film is a discovery for the audience. A puzzle piece will be put into place and the audience is right there with them. This is what Arrival does well. This isn't a film that's going to dazzle you with popcorn entertainment. This is a film that peels the layers off one at a time until the center is revealed.
Act 2 does kind of slow down a lot. We get exposition of some of the characters we should care about. Each main character is fleshed out and we get some revelations. We also great moments of tension between nations that are also trying to solve the same problem. These interactions are quite haunting and the core of human emotion creates obstacles for our protagonists. They're so close to an answer, but humans get in the way and create unnecessary hiccups. The major one is humans inability to stay calm. Ever since humans have been around, we've been the most dominate species on the planet. Now when something is out of our control, humans will eat each other (just like the Dark Knight). We are no longer in control and everything is siding with the fact that maybe these aliens are hostile.
The final act has a lot in it in a very short amount of time. It wraps up the plot and even smaller subplots by connecting the main plot with the subplots. The third act is like that of the Dark Knight. We get the climax and everything else is about fixing what the climax did. I won't tell you the ending, but get ready to be amazed. Or you'll be disappointed. There seems to be two types of people that come out of this film. The ones that will push off the ending and have no idea what the ending is all about. There will be people like me, which can understand the confusion, but understands the premise they're trying to accomplish. They do this brilliantly with a very subtle ending that just short of ends. It seems like nothing is resolved until you start to think back to what the screenwriter gave you throughout the film. Clues are introduced and are there for the audiences to pick up on. This why I believe this film needs two viewings to totally appreciate what the filmmakers were trying to accomplish.
Overall, Arrival is a film that some will be disappointed with. They're walk out not understanding that the film was resolved. The open ending format might throw some people away from the film. However, the ending is actually the best apart and creates this understanding of what it means to be human. It's truly a thought-provoking film that will have to be looked at with a second look. Arrival might not be the most flashy "alien invasion" film of all time, but it's definitely one of the most well put together films of this year.