Linguistics professor Louise Banks leads an elite team of investigators when gigantic spaceships touchdown in 12 locations around the world. As nations teeter on the verge of global war, Banks and her crew must race against time to find a way to communicate with the extraterrestrial visitors. Hoping to unravel the mystery, she takes a chance that could threaten her life and quite possibly all of mankind.Written by
Louise tells Colonel Weber that the word 'kangaroo' comes from an historical misunderstanding, and actually means "I don't know", only to tell Ian that the story is untrue but illustrates her point. This is an actual myth, not just a made up story. It involves Lieutenant James Cook and Sir Joseph Banks who arrived in Australia in the 18th century, where they made contact with the Guugo Yimithirr, a coastal Aboriginal tribe. They were puzzled by the sight of a kangaroo, and asked a tribesman what it was. According to the myth, the tribesman responded with the word "gangurru", meaning "I don't understand" in his language. Banks mistook it for the local term for the animal, spelling it as "kanguru" in his diary. The myth was debunked in the 1970s by linguist John B. Haviland. In reality, the word gangurru specifically refers to the grey kangaroo in the Guugo Yimithirr language. When Cook and Banks traveled 1,400 miles inland, they encountered the Baagandji tribe, who were unfamiliar with the other tribe and the word gangurru, and thought it meant "unknown animal". The Baagandji then started to use the word to describe Cook's and Banks' horses. See more »
I used to think this was the beginning of your story. Memory is a strange thing. It doesn't work like I thought it did. We are so bound by time, by its order.
[coddling her baby girl]
Okay. Okay. Come back to me. Come back to me. Come back to me.
[later playing with her in the yard]
Stick 'em up! Are you the sheriff in this here town? These are my tickle guns, and I'm gonna getcha!
You want me to chase you? You better run!
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Right after the cast credits, "On the Nature of Daylight" by Max Richter is given an extra credit as the "Beginning and end music" in addition to the usual soundtrack credit near the end of the credit roll. See more »
This generation's Close Encounters of the Third Kind
The mystery of the unknown is something that doesn't get explored enough within science fiction. Too often we see science fiction films, particularly involving aliens, that are only interested with how we, as a species, would fight back against them.
Every now and then however, we get a film like Denis Villeneuve's Arrival that comes along and offers something totally different. The film uses its tagline "Why are they here?" quite literally to deliver one of the most fascinating films you will see all year.
Dr. Louise Banks (Amy Adams) is one of the world's leading linguists, who gets recruited by the military to assist in translating alien communications. Along with mathematician Ian Donnelly (Jeremy Renner), Louise attempts to get answers as to why twelve alien spacecrafts have landed at different locations around the world.
I had only seen three of Denis Villeneuve's previous films before yet I have been impressed with the diversity of his films, a trend he continues with Arrival. What I really admire about Villeneuve as a filmmaker is the choice he makes to not spoon feed the audience with every single piece of information. He instead makes films to challenge the audience, leaving them to either complete the puzzle themselves or question the morality of his characters.
With Arrival, Villeneuve has crafted a truly thought provoking science fiction film, telling the story in a slow yet masterful manner, leading to a beautiful pay off. The theme of communication resonates massively with the world today, the moment communication between twelve countries via satellite link breaks down summing it up quite suitably.
Villeneuve's storytelling is aided by some superb cinematography from Bradford Young and a haunting score from Jóhann Jóhannsson. Young's cinematography captures the sense of wonder perfectly while Jóhannsson's score heightens the sense of mystery surrounding the alien visitors and their intentions.
Coming to the performances, Arrival features a real emotional heartbeat thanks to a fantastic performance from the always dependable Amy Adams, who conveys such a wide range of emotions as Louise, growing in confidence with each session she gets with the visitors. Jeremy Renner and Forest Whitaker offer some fine support for Adams but there is no doubting this film belongs to her.
Arrival is one of the best films of the year and a really great example of science fiction filmmaking from Denis Villeneuve, who is perfectly suited to bring us the sequel to Blade Runner next year. I would happily put this film in the same league as something like Close Encounters of the Third Kind, one of the all time greats of sci-fi.
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