Benjamin Maio Mackay
Arrival - 4 Stars
For the second time this week Amy Adams shines in a brilliant, innovative sci-fi drama.
A linguist is recruited by the military to assist in translating alien communications.
What’s refreshing about this movie is it’s entirely unpredictable. It doesn’t follow a typical sci-fi blockbuster formula and for once the aliens aren't here to kill us, resulting in a big CGI battle. Another refreshing element is that the whole film is a slow burn - it has a nice crescendo reveal, as opposed to bamboozling the audience. However, it is a very sad, depressing film and the tone is set within the first 3 minutes.
The reason this film works is all because of Amy Adams, her performance is flawless. She conveys intricacies of the character that most other actors wouldn’t bother with. The great thing about Adams is that she is one of the few famous actors where you don’t sit there thinking “I’m watching Amy Adams,” she is a true chameleon. Jeremy Renner plays a more two dimensional character and his billing alongside Adams is unnecessary, he plays a much smaller role - its really her film. Forest Whitaker also brings a nice subtly to his supporting role.
The script is well-written, though it contains an interesting reference to Australian history, which offended most of the audience at my screening. The CGI was realistic and not “overdone” and overall the direction was strong. The cinematography was hypnotizing and almost dizzying at times - but it certainly engulfed you more in the story.
Overall one of the cleverest, most unique, well performed sci-fi films in a long time. Amy Adams shines in this riveting movie.
Review by Benjamin Maio Mackay
Screening courtesy of Palace Nova Cinemas