Film Notes: Arrival (2016) directed by Denis Villeneuve


US / 116 min / Color / 21 Laps Entertainment, FilmNation Entertainment, Lava Bear Films. Dir: Denis Villeneuve Pro: Shawn Levy, Dan Levine, Aaron Ryder, David Linde Scr: Eric Heisserer, based on the short story Story of Your Life by Ted Chiang Cine: Bradford Young Mus: Johann Johannsson Cast: Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, Forest Whitaker, Michael Stuhlbarg, Mark O’Brien, Tzi Ma, Abigail Pniowsky, Julia Scarlett Dan Synopsis: Arrival is a provocative science fiction thriller from acclaimed director Denis Villeneuve (Sicario, Prisoners). 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. Also starring Jeremy Renner and Forest Whitaker. (Source: Venice Film Festival) Release Dates: 1 September (Venice Film Festival); 2 September 2016 (Telluride Film Festival); 9 September 2016 (Toronto Film Festival); 23 September 2016 (San Sebastian Film Festival); 18 November 2016 (Spain)  Original title: Arrival Spanish title: La llegada IMDb Rating: 8.3

Arrival-PosterAs I announced a few days ago, Begoña and I had the chance to watch Arrival directed by Dennis Villeneuve. I have to say that I’m not particularly fond of science fiction but I was attracted by the name of its director, Canadian filmmaker Denis Villeneuve.  I’d be lying if I said I  thoroughly understood the film. In fact my first impression was I didn’t get bored, but I can assure you I’ve been thinking a great deal about the story and my final verdict is that it’s an impressive film I’ll return to watch it several times. The more I think about this film, I like it most. I hope you enjoy this film as much as I do.

I had only seen three of Denis Villeneuve’s previous films before yet I have been impressed with the diversity of his films, a trend he continues with Arrival. What I really admire about Villeneuve as a filmmaker is the choice he makes to not spoon feed the audience with every single piece of information. He instead makes films to challenge the audience, leaving them to either complete the puzzle themselves or question the morality of his characters. (by bartonj2410 –IMDb User Reviews)

The title in the film, could also refer to two things – the arrival of the visitors or the birth of Dr. Louise’s baby. A fascinating film on all counts. (Review by Gilbert Seah here)

Visionary Quebecois auteur Denis Villeneuve (Prisoners, Enemy, Sicario) directs Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner and Forest Whitaker in this sci-fi drama about the panic that follows a wave of mysterious spacecraft landings across the globe.

Throughout his film career, acclaimed Canadian director Denis Villeneuve has adapted to different genres, and his latest feature, Arrival, is no exception. Arrivalhonours classic science fiction while also creating something truly original.

When 12 alien spacecraft land around the world, linguistics expert Dr. Louise Banks (Amy Adams, also appearing at the Festival in Nocturnal Animals) and theoretical physicist Ian Donnelly (Jeremy Renner) are recruited by the US military to obtain the answer to one question: “What do they want?” Arriving in Montana, working under the leadership of Colonel Weber (Forest Whitaker), Louise and Ian are only remotely aware that their lives and the future of humanity are about to become inextricably linked. As the unlikely pair collaborate to solve this extraterrestrial translation puzzle, 11 other teams around the world are attempting to do the same.

Certain to thrill mainstream moviegoers, cinephiles, sci-fi fans, and linguistics nerds alike, Arrival challenges the notion that technology improves our ability to communicate by focusing on the fundamentals. Villeneuve finds excitement in the details, crafting an atmosphere where dissecting the various components and interpretations of a sentence is as gripping as the first sight of aliens.

Aided by Bradford Young’s arresting cinematography, Jóhann Jóhannsson’s captivating score, and long-time collaborator Patrice Vermette’s minimalist production design, Villeneuve shows masterful control over tone as he creates palpable tension that quietly builds to the film’s powerful conclusion. At once beautiful and haunting, Arrival is an alien movie that is fundamentally human. (Source: Toronto International Film Festival)

Denis Villeneuve was born in Gentilly, Quebec, and studied film at l’Université du Québec à Montréal. His feature Polytechnique (09) received nine Genie Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director. His other acclaimed features Un 32 août sur terre (98), Maelström(00), Incendies (10), Prisoners (13), Enemy (13), and Sicario (15) all played the Festival. Arrival (16) is his latest film. (Source: Toronto International Film Festival)

Director’s Statement
Story of Your Life, by Ted Chiang, is a short story that explores with playfulness and poetry the concepts behind the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, the theory that language could change our perception of reality. Screenwriter Eric Heisserer wrote Arrival, inspired by this literary gem. Heptapods visit Earth without apparent reason, while linguists around the World try to understand their purpose. Among them, Dr Louise Banks, who will embrace a new form of humility at the end of this journey. It seems that you can learn from a conversation with Death, beyond silences. I don’t know if Walt Disney took LSD in his life, but I think he would have been intrigued by this trip. (Source: Venice Film Festival)

Official website

Film Review: Arrival by rosslangager

The Hollywood Reporter ‘Arrival’ Venice Review

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2 thoughts on “Film Notes: Arrival (2016) directed by Denis Villeneuve

  1. I very much want to see this film, José Ignacio. I’m really glad you enjoyed it as much as you did, It seems I have a good experience waiting for me…

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