Film Review: Arrival – What Is Your Purpose?

What is your purpose? This is the question everyone wants to know the answer to when aliens land on earth. Arrival is more of a conceptual sci-fi film, keeping it real from start to finish.

This is not your typical alien invasion film. Arrival, directed by Denis Villeneuve, is based off a short story entitled “Story Of Your Life” by Ted Chiang. The screenplay is by Eric Heisserer. The film features Amy Adams as our main character, Dr Louise Banks, a linguist.

We firstly watch her back story and the loss of her child to what we can presume is cancer. We then see her walk off to a lecture where she plans on talking about the Portuguese language. On the way, students are huddled around TV screens, and when she gets to class, her students ask her to put a news channel on. The lecture is then dismissed as the whole institution floods out.

Dr Louise Banks is then called in by US Army Colonel Weber, played by Forest Whitaker, who whisks her away to Montana, where one of 12 alien spaceships are hovering.

It’s not all guns blazing; instead, they want to work out why they are here, what are their purpose? Dr Louise Banks is joined by Ian Donnelly, a scientist played by Jeremy Renner, to try and find the answer to this question.

They name the aliens Heptapods, because of their seven tentacles. They speak in sounds that are like no language on Earth, and so it proves difficult to communicate with them until Dr Louise Banks shows them a visual aid of English words. This allows more of a communication, with the Heptapods unleashing a black smoke-like ink that transforms into a letter. Each letter can say a multitude of words. They can form a whole sentence using one circular letter.

Watch The Trailer To “Arrival” Here:

As the film progresses Dr Louise Banks and many other experts, who we don’t meet, from each of the seven places get closer and closer to finding out what the aliens are doing on Earth.

It feels so real. This is the main thing about the film, it’s not all guns blazing, it’s not straight-out war. The film takes into consideration what actions we would take as a world if, or when, aliens contacted us.

Building up and discovering this new language brings insights into how language develops, all the while controlled through a nervous sci-fi movie where interpretations can go horribly wrong.

Amy Adams manages to bring the emotion to the film, completely developed in her role, she totally proves her acting abilities. She definitely deserves an award for this.

All-in-all Arrival is a must-see. It’ll be embedded in history next to “Gravity” as well as “Contact”. It questions all we expect from alien interaction. Nice aliens are possible after all, even if they do have tentacles and still manage to make you jump. The film is full of emotion, comedy, but most of all, it feels real.

If you’ve seen this film, tell us your thoughts over on Twitter @CelebMix, and if you’re excited to go and see it, let us know too :)

Written by Jonathan Currinn

26-year-old writer, blogger, author, and journalist. Graduated from Staffordshire University in 2015. I write under the name Critic Jonni, on my blog. I also write for Channillo, Outlet Magazine, SPECTRUMM, Fuzzable, Modern Magazine, and Electric Mode. In the past, I have written for Fox & Squirrel Photography and the Daily Star. Follow me on Twitter @CriticJonni