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Arrival Spoiler-Free Review

So the director of Sicario, Enemy and Prisoners made a new science fiction film starring Amy Adams. Also, let’s note that he is currently working on the Blade Runner sequel. Of course I’m gonna watch this.

And I was not disappointed at all. Arrival is simply a masterpiece, and director Denis Villeneuve proves that the genre is still very much alive, masterfully constructing a film that has gone on to be nominated for 8 Oscars, and will hopefully win quite a few of them.

Villeneuve directs the crap out of this film, and Amy Adams produces a performance that’s even better than the one she produced for Nocturnal Animals – and she wasn’t nominated for either this year! It’s ridiculous.

So what makes Arrival so amazing? Is it the way the story is crafted (props to Ted Chiang, writer of the original short story, Story of Your Life, on which the film is based.)? Is it the amazing cinematography with beautiful sweeping landscapes reminiscent of a Ridley Scott film?

Or maybe it’s the performances (as mentioned above), or the thrilling, chilling and deeply moving score by Jóhann Jóhannsson who did the score for Sicario as well, and Max Richter, known for some great work on shows like The Leftovers?

It’s none of these things in isolation, however it’s the way all of these elements (and so much more) is brought together to craft one hell of a stunning film. And most (if not all) of that credit goes to the director, since he’s the man at the helm.

If you haven’t seen it yet, please stay away from the trailers (even though they aren’t very spoilerish), and don’t read up on it. There’s an amazing experience waiting for you as you discover where the story leads, peeling back layer after layer, revealing a pretty awesome payoff by the end that’s captivating, satisfying and sad.

It’s probably unlikely right now, but see this one on the the big screen, or the biggest screen you can find, with the best sound quality. It’s so worth taking in this film in all its audio and visual glory. And that’s what I love about  Villeneuve’s films to date: There’s never a trade-off. You’re always getting a good-quality film all the way through, from the story, to the performances, as well as the look and feel of it.

Rating: 9.2/10

You can watch the trailer for Arrival below:

Once you’ve seen the film, this video essay by Nerdwriter1 is definitely worth a watch as it explains details of the story, as well as details on the craftsmanship that went into producing this film:

Other cool Arrival reviews from around the web:

Review: Arrival (dir. Denis Villeneuve) via Films & Faith

‘Arrival’ Review (2016) via Screen Critics

Countdown to the Oscars | “Arrival” Review via Dork Talk with Izzie

Review: Aliens Drop Anchor in ‘Arrival,’ but What Are Their Intentions? via the NY Times

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Editor-in-Chief at BTG Lifestyle. For cinema.


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