“Arrival” portrays disconnect on an extreme level


The idea of first contact with life from the stars has always lit up the human imagination. How would we react when we finally discover that we are not the only life? “Arrival” is one of the best takes on this since the original “The Day the Earth Stood Still.”
Directed by Denis Villeneuve, “Arrival” is about the world reacting to 12 different alien ships landing at different points on Earth, forcing the international community to work together in a way they haven’t before.  
“Arrival” stars Amy Adams as Louise Banks, a linguistics expert who is called upon to help translate the alien language. She is joined by mathematician Ian Donnelly (Jeremy Renner) and United States Army Colonel Weber (Forest Whitaker). The film follows Banks and her team as they try to communicate with the aliens. With no psychic powers, universal translators or learning English off the internet, the entire movie is about figuring out how to talk to something so alien. This isn’t a typical Hollywood blockbuster. Instead of the usual large scale action, this is a serious look at mankind dealing with the existence of extraterrestrial life. It’s a bold move that pays off.
The designs are fantastic. The film does a great job making everything alien seem so strange. We get very little clues on the creature’s biology or how their technology works. Everything inside the ship seems so vast and imposing which not only adds to the aliens strangeness, but also makes the hero’s goal that much harder to reach. The aliens shield themselves behind a glass wall, and are obscured by an odd fog. It adds to the aliens mystique and makes the situation seem even more ominous. The score is appropriately creepy and strange to match the seemingly huge rooms in the space ships.
The acting is incredible.  Adams gives a powerful performance. She conveys the shock, awe, terror and hope someone in that position would have. It’s one of the best of the year and it would be a crime if she wasn’t nominated for something. The other actors are no slouches either. Everyone across the board does a great job, and Renner is great as the smart guy.  
Villeneuve does a great job of capturing the emotion that the characters feel. The entire film breathes atmosphere and makes you feel the gravity of the events. The tension builds as the characters struggle to figure out why the aliens have come. Since the aliens are scattered throughout the world, the team has to work with several other countries, each with their own ideas and goals. The film perfectly captures the difficult mess that talking to other people can entail. The main theme of “Arrival” is the difficulty in trying to understand others.
At it’s core this film is about the joy and difficulties of life. Learning how to communicate with others and dealing the lows of life along with the highs. “Arrival” is a powerful and well made film with an important story to tell.