Updated: Jul 5, 2018
"We're so bounded by time, by its order. But now I am not so sure I believe in beginnings and endings." - Dr. Louise Banks, Arrival
I don’t believe I have ever seen anything so beautiful; heard anything so beautiful. Felt such powerful emotions than after watching Arrival.
When large, floating, mysterious objects touch down across the globe, Louise Banks(Amy Adams), a linguist, is brought to investigate. Humans, doing what they do, quickly start preparing for an all-out interstellar war. Banks and her mathematician partner, Ian Donnelly(Jeremy Renner) try to figure out why they're here and what they want before things become violent.
My love for this movie is non-linear; much like the language of Heptapods and time within the film itself.
If there were a way to describe the score, to describe the sound of the movie, it would be "vibrational." And, even that word, vibrational, can’t contain the awesome powerhouse that is the score of this film. In the very first seconds of the movie, you can feel it. And, I don’t always mean in your body, but in your heart as well. It resonates with your mind, heart, and body as a whole. In every scene, Jóhann Jóhannsson creates the perfect undertone. Such as when they go into the chamber of the aliens for the first time, and it's paired with the steady, short, and strong pizzicato that quickly crescendos into this noisome sliding before it shifts back into its quiet plucking. It makes you on edge. When they first show the alien object over rolling fog, and the choir of voices rolls into the theater, it makes the whole thing feel heavenly. Honestly, this movie may have one of the BEST scores I have ever had the pleasure of hearing. It isn’t subtle, yet it isn’t overtaking. It makes my eyes water just hearing it, and even more so now that I know the story.
But, the music isn’t the only part that was sent from somewhere beyond our atmosphere. The cinematography by Bradford Young was sent down from the heavenly cinematic realms to bless us with its beauty. Each shot looks too perfect for my unworthy eyes. The aliens objects amongst the 12 landscapes each one is almost celestial. Whether over the seas, cities, or the Montana plains(Shot in Canada) the great gray egg-like shaped ships, that have no beginnings and no endings, looks like something out of a dream. Each image so crisp and picturesque, you could play this movie on a wall as art.
The star of this masterpiece is, of course, Amy Adams( who I will always remember as Amelia Earhart from The Night at the Museum 2). There’s something about her performance that is phenomenally stirring. She has chemistry with Jeremy Renner, Forest Whittaker, and even the aliens. I have no words to describe how wonderful she is.
Finally, the story itself, based on “Story of Your Life” by Ted Chiang. I can only imagine how beautiful the writing and details in the book are, which weren’t able to make it into the film. It is on my 'books to read' list for sure. However, the script in the movie was excellently crafted by Eric Heisserer. Between the script and the direction of, Denis Villeneuve, the film unfolds into the most heartbreaking and heartwarming story with the ending just as important as the beginning. And it is the best payoff of a two-hour movie in a while. The first time I went to see the film, I missed the first ten minutes, but now just seeing those first couple minutes almost changes what I thought the entire movie meant.
It would be insulting to Arrival, to even suggest “swept floors” or that any parts of it should be left on the cutting room floor.
FLOOR OR DOOR?
Should it have been left on the cutting room floor or should you be running out the door to see it?
Door! Door! Door! Please, go see it! It is one of new top 10 favorites( a PLATINUM Door).
Arrival truly sticks with you in your mind. Once it arrives, it makes an impact and doesn’t leave.
I’m almost in tears thinking about this film, and I just saw it. Kinda want to see it again already.