The Arrival of alien craft at several locations on the planet, prompt the military to call in some experts in an attempt to communicate with the extra-terrestrial beings. Linguist Dr. Louise Banks (Amy Adams – Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Her) teams up with Ian Donnelly (Jeremy Renner – Captain America: Civil War, Avengers: Age of Ultron) in a bid to maintain peace and establish communication before other world leaders bring to bear the military might of their nations, and plunge the Earth into an interstellar conflict.
Adding to the stress they feel as while trying to make sense of the strange alien writings they are attempting to decipher, there is panic and fear on the ground. With Colonel Weber (Forest Whitaker – Taken 3) hot on their heels, and soldiers with their fingers on triggers, ready to fight.
The Arrival is a mix of drama, mystery, science fiction. It poses many philosophical questions. In essence, this is a very cerebral story. Highly engrossing, yet there is a great deal of unpredictability to the plot. Reminiscent of the wonder and uncertainty of Contact (back in 1997), the film is sure to evoke much debate amongst audiences, whether a strong military stand-point is the best choice to protect humankind, or to take a slower route, possibly exposing ourselves to danger, but with the chance of new allies.
There is not much that can be said for The Arrival. It is plain and simple, a brilliant movie. Great acting talent, engrossing story. Minimal use of computer effects, which while good, can merely serve to distract ones thought process in a film such as this, which contains a lot less action.
Fair warning, however. Several cinemas in South Africa do not have projection equipment bright enough for a film such as The Arrival. This is a huge disappointment, and a travesty for fans of film. Cinema Nouveau at the V&A Waterfront is far too dark, with a portion of the film image not being shown on screen, due to bad framing. Audiences should vote with their feet, and choose only cinemas where they will get their monies worth, and with many of the scenes in the film being in a darkened setting, a lot of great work is lost due to a deficit in equipment or staff knowledge.
Bad cinema experiences aside, The Arrival is one of the must see films of 2016, and opens 11 November 2016 in South African cinemas.