Story a wel­come ar­rival

Western Suburbs Weekly - - Film -

AMY Adams has a close en­counter of the third kind with in­ter­ga­lac­tic vis­i­tors in Ar­rival, dis­cov­er­ing as much about her­self and mankind as the aliens within the space ships.

When sev­eral UFOs sud­denly ap­pear around the world, hov­er­ing just me­tres above the ground at each lo­ca­tion, the ob­vi­ous ques­tions “who or what is in­side them?” and “what do they want?” are im­me­di­ately asked.

Lonely lin­guist Louise Banks (Amy Adams) and mouthy math­e­ma­ti­cian Ian Don­nelly (Jeremy Ren­ner) are re­cruited by US Army Colonel We­ber (For­est Whi­taker) to com­mu­ni­cate with the new vis­i­tors and get an­swers.

In­side the ver­ti­cal ve­hi­cles, the team spend days try­ing to crack the aliens’ lan­guage and un­der­stand their in­ten­tions but their meth­ods of com­mu­ni­cat­ing are chal­leng­ing.

Even­tu­ally, panic be­gins to set in and com­mu­ni­ca­tion be­tween coun­tries breaks down, with some lead­ers fear­ing the worst from the outer space guests, and their ac­tions could lead to war be­tween the species.

Writer Eric Heis­serer, whose ca­reer so far has been steeped in hor­ror re­makes and se­quels, and this year’s sur­pris­ingly good Light Out, goes in a com­pletely dif­fer­ent di­rec­tion with his adap­ta­tion of Ted Chi­ang’s short story Story of Your Life.

Swap­ping slay­ings for sus­pense and ex­ter­mi­na­tions for ex­is­ten­tial­ism, Heis­serer scripts a thought­ful story about the im­por­tance of lan­guage, com­mu­ni­ca­tion and un­der­stand­ing oth­ers.

Adams again gives a ter­rific per­for­mance, ground­ing her char­ac­ter in re­al­ity even when the story takes an un­usual twist to­wards the end.

It is a credit to Heis­serer that he fleshes out the fe­male lead char­ac­ter but leaves lead­ing man Ren­ner with lit­tle to do.

Amy Adams at­tempts to com­mu­ni­cate.

With Ju­lian Wright

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