Following its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival earlier today, the first batch of reviews for “Prisoners” and “Sicario” director Denis Villeneuve’s highly anticipated science fiction drama “Arrival” have come in and are glowing. Check out some excerpts from those reviews below.
The film takes the worn trope of alien first contact films and tries something fresh with it – exploring the language barrier between two separate species and how to overcome it. Amy Adams and Jeremy Renner lead the cast of the film which will next play Toronto ahead of a November 11th release.
“So you have to say this for Arrival, a solemnly fantastic tale of a highly enigmatic alien visit: The film has been made, by the intensely gifted director Denis Villeneuve, with an awareness that we’ve already been through this more than enough times, and that the definition of an alien movie – or, at least, one that’s trying to be a serious piece of sci-fi, and not just a popcorn lark – is that it’s going to hypnotize us with something that appears extraordinary because it’s altogether unprecedented.” – Variety
“Restraint is very much the defining note here, but within that generally muted emotional palette, Amy Adams’ Louise registers as a woman who has accepted her solitude and pain while never attempting to cover her deep wound. That makes her extraordinarily receptive to connecting with a mysterious species whose intent is automatically interpreted by much of the planet as hostile. Renner is given less to do, though the mutual respect and burgeoning friendship between Ian and Louise is drawn in gentle, affecting strokes by both actors. Their rapport builds to a touching final reveal that earns its emotional impact subtly, not with the usual flood of sentiment.” – THR
“That is what happens in a third act which is perhaps an all-time great example of how to release the massive power that your considered pacing has been quietly accumulating the whole time, and one of the cleverest uses of non-chronological storytelling in memory. The slow build to the grand reveal is the most impressive aspect of Arrival, because most films that ask Big Questions flake out at supplying an answer… Arrival gets better as it goes on, pursues its logic to its furthest extreme and beyond. It doesn’t just theorize, it comes to a conclusion.” – The Playlist
“Inevitably, these ‘contact’ moments are where the film’s real impact and atmosphere have to be. And Villeneuve doesn’t disappoint in sequences of eerie and claustrophobic strangeness – though I concede the film is most effective before the physical form of the aliens is revealed. There are also touches of comedy – The Guardian
“If ‘Arrival’ falls short in any way, it’s in a third-act pivot that attempts to appeal to the heart as much as to the head. Louise’s personal story is a powerful one, and the film never betrays this fascinating character, but it has so successfully created such a cool and detached vibe that it’s a bit jarring to get a last-minute play for the emotions. It’s not impossible to give audiences both a puzzle-box narrative and an exploration of life choices and what it means to be human, but the balance just doesn’t play here.” – The Wrap