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Sunday, November 13, 2016

Arrival (2016)

12 mysterious spacecraft of unknown origins hover over various parts of the planet. The U.S. government recruits a well known linguist (Amy Adams) to assist them in communicating with alien life form to find out why they are here. Directed by Denis Villeneuve (SICARIO), this is a welcome and refreshing piece of intelligent cerebral science fiction. This isn't an us against them INDEPENDENCE DAY scenario nor is it overloaded with CGI. This is sci-fi that engages the mind, the spirit and the heart. Adapted from STORY OF YOUR LIFE by Ted Chiang, Villeneuve and his screenwriter Eric Hesserer challenge us rather than appeal to the lowest common denominator. I'm sure some filmgoers will be disappointed that "nothing happens" but, of course, a lot is happening. It's just not a lot of contrived action. Amy Adams is having a good year with this and the upcoming NOCTURNAL ANIMALS and she gives a subtly complex performance. She's the focus of the film but she gets nice support from Jeremy Renner as a physicist working with her. With Forest Whitaker and Michael Stuhlbarg.

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