‘Ar­rival’ trans­lates well, line by line

It’s a story that fo­cuses more on science than fic­tion. It ap­proaches the sub­ject of alien in­va­sion the way most films treat war and in­ter­na­tional con­flict, tak­ing its time to de­velop the story in a be­liev­able fash­ion.

Jamaica Gleaner - - ENTERTAINMENT - Damian Levy Gleaner Writer

AR­RIVAL IS what I imag­ine a re­make of The Day The Earth Stood Still by Christo­pher Nolan would be like. Much like that movie, Ar­rival is a film that shows us a more grounded look at the fa­mil­iar story of alien in­va­sion.

The story takes place in Mon­tana, the lo­ca­tion of one of 12 alien ships spread out across the globe. It fol­lows Amy Adams as Louise, a lin­guist who’s tasked with trans­lat­ing the alien lan­guage for the US govern­ment. No big deal. Just as long as she can do it be­fore world pow­ers like China and Rus­sia start hav­ing ma­jor trust is­sues.

Ar­rival is the lat­est in a re­cent crop of hard sci-fi films like The Mar­tian and Grav­ity. It’s a story that fo­cuses more on science than fic­tion. It ap­proaches the sub­ject of alien in­va­sion the way most films treat war and in­ter­na­tional con­flict, tak­ing its time to de­velop the story in a be­liev­able fash­ion. It takes the more de­tai­lo­ri­ented parts that are typ­i­cally glossed over for the sake of plot and makes them the driv­ing force of the movie.

HIGH ANTICIPATION

Now, for many peo­ple, that won’t be very ap­peal­ing. Ar­rival is very much a slow burn and its metic­u­lous na­ture can be daunt­ing if you don’t ex­pect it. This is par­tially be­cause Ar­rival does such a great job at craft­ing anticipation, and the pay­off doesn’t come un­til much later. Di­rec­tor De­nis Vil­leneuve is a master of mod­ern ten­sion and that’s def­i­nitely on dis­play here. Although Ar­rival shouldn’t be clas­si­fied as a thriller, it cer­tainly has the

pac­ing of one.

Per­son­ally, I ap­pre­ci­ated the way the movie took its time, be­cause it still had so much to say. Watch­ing the way two com­pletely dif­fer­ent species in­ter­acted

from the ground up was mes­meris­ing. Ad­di­tion­ally, I en­joyed what the movie had to say be­neath that. The mes­sage of aban­don­ing fear and em­brac­ing learn­ing is all the more rel­e­vant, con­sid­er­ing how preva­lent and harm­ful xeno­pho­bia is in 2016.

For many peo­ple, Ar­rival will be a bore. It’s an un­con­ven­tional look at this type of film, which usu­ally has more ex­plo­sions. It’s best to pre­pare your­self for its slow and steady na­ture. Give it your pa­tience, though, and you’ll be thor­oughly re­warded.

It’s sad to say, it’s a rare sight when a movie has an im­mensely sat­is­fy­ing end­ing to a gen­uinely in­trigu­ing be­gin­ning.

Rat­ing: Big-screen watch

CON­TRIB­UTED

Louise Banks (Amy Adams) and her team race against time to save hu­man­ity in ‘Ar­rival’.

AP

Jeremy Ren­ner (left) and Amy Adams in ‘Ar­rival’.

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