Arrival - This film will speak your language - 4.5 stars

Is this a sci-fi alien adventure or a psychological thriller?

Walking into the cinema...
In a world of celebrating diversity, can the very thing that defines different societies be the very thing that could bring them together?   

Russelling Reviews: 
4.5  stars
Cinematic rating: 4.5 stars
Reel Dialogue rating: 5 stars

        Linguist Louise Banks (Amy Adams) seems to be living two different lives. She is a leading voice within her field and she is suffering through the trauma of loss within her family. Then the landing occurs. Aliens come to earth in 12 locations around the globe and within days, Louise is abruptly awakened from the dream state that she has experienced in her life. She is sought after to assist with communicating with this alien race. With the assistance of the armed forces, leading scientists and fellow scientist Ian Donnelly (Jeremy Renner), she is in a race against time to communicate with this new species. Their work has implications that will impact world peace, the sustaining of life on earth and ultimately it will affect her own personal life. 
        Arrival proves to be an unexpected journey into the realm of the human experience, our identities as humanity and the things that cause the most connection and division within our species. This is a massive statement to make about an apparent alien invasion film, but the invasion from outer space is merely the vehicle to deliver much deeper considerations. Director Denis Villeneuve (Sicario) provides a unique view of humanity and how it responds to things that cannot be defined by our current paradigms. Without taking away any of the potential twists of this psychological and philosophical journey, Villeneuve manages to portray the ramifications of the these events and how they change the players internally and existentially. This is an odyssey that will have a long-lasting and profound effect on audiences through the multi-dimensional considerations of the human condition. 
       To Villeneuve's credit, the element that makes his film travel so well between these multiple levels are his main players. Amy Adams sits beautifully in amongst this jumbled array of philosophy and interstellar communications. She continues to prove to be one of the leading actors in Hollywood and it could be said that this is one of her best performances to date. Her ability to convey emotion and intellect within the same scene without issue makes this web of thought accessible. Jeremy Renner provides the measured intensity, quiet confidence and comedic element that supports Adams in her performance. The development of their relationship remains believable, even as the story journeys outside the realm of reality. Forest Whitaker does give the film the steely military element, but he always makes you want more of his character in the end. This could be a positive or negative for his fans in leaving them wanting more. 
       Arrival can be described as unprecedented and genre bending. It is not an alien invasion film or psychological thriller as much as it provides a philosophical journey that entertains. It is a great film, but it may take time to determine exactly why and it will be different for each person watching the film. It is worth watching with a friend, as it will provide loads of discussion for days. 

REEL DIALOGUE: What are some of the bigger questions to consider from this film? 

The topics that are open for discussion are boundless with Arrival, but the one that stands out is the discussion of language. At the heart of this film is the frustration and solution that language can provide to bring unity throughout humanity. It is hard to imagine that the Bible could have an answer to the perplexing notion of languages, but it does. At the very beginning of the the human experience, language is a key issue for unity and pride. At the Tower of Babel, God's solution to the problem of pride was to introduce many languages. So, is the film's premise a true solution or merely a re-introduction to the problem? 

Passages on the value of words and the use of the tongue: 
Genesis 11:1-9, Proverbs 21:23, James 3:2-10

Trailer for the film

Written by Russell Matthews based on a five star rating system @ Russelling Reviews 
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