Dir: De­nis Vil­leneuve 1hr 56mins (12A)

The Week Middle East - - Arts -

Tense, cere­bral sci-fi star­ring Amy Adams Too many films about aliens turn out to be ex­cuses for spec­tac­u­lar scenes of CGI dev­as­ta­tion which of­ten in­volve the top­pling of the Statue of Lib­erty, said Brian Viner in the Daily Mail. De­nis Vil­leneuve’s “highly in­tel­li­gent” thriller isn’t like that at all. Amy Adams plays a bril­liant lin­guis­tics pro­fes­sor who is re­cruited by the US gov­ern­ment af­ter 12 alien space­ships ap­pear, hov­er­ing omi­nously, at sites around the world. Her task is to com­mu­ni­cate with them. The build-up to her first “close en­counter” is un­bear­ably tense, said Deb­o­rah Ross in The Spec­ta­tor, thanks to Adams’s abil­ity to con­vey se­ri­ous “emo­tional heft” while “seem­ingly do­ing very lit­tle”. And the aliens them­selves, when fi­nally re­vealed, are a “tri­umph of creep­ily mem­o­rable de­sign”, said Rob­bie Collin in The Daily Tele­graph. As, too, is the weird form of writ­ing they use to ex­press them­selves: it has the “daunt­ing beauty” of cal­lig­ra­phy. Some as­pects of this “cere­bral” film – Adams’s in­stant abil­ity to de­ci­pher alien script, for ex­am­ple – run the risk of seem­ing “silly”, said Ge­of­frey Mac­nab in The In­de­pen­dent. But this is a sci-fi thriller that grap­ples with ab­stract ideas and doesn’t rely “on ac­tion movie clichés”. That makes it pretty re­mark­able.

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