“There are no winners in a war, only widows”. Last words of General Shang’s dying wife.
I am not a big fan of sci-fi or alien movies but I found the movie “Arrival” very engrossing. It is not an average alien invasion movie and if you watch it expecting an action film, you will be disappointed.
In the movie, the planet earth gets invaded by tentacled aliens who arrive in 12 space crafts and hover at 12 different locations around the globe. Amy Adams stars as Dr. Louise Banks, a brilliant linguist and a university professor. She is recruited by the US government to act as an interpreter between the aliens and the human race and discover the purpose of their arrival.
Actor Jeremy Renner is Ian Donnelly, a theoretical physicist who has to assist her in her endeavours. The aliens seem non-aggressive but different governments find their presence threatening and each country develops its own way of dealing with them. China, in particular, is shown to adopt a hostile stance and refuses to be a part of any co-ordinated international response.
Dr. Banks and her team struggle to interpret the aliens’ language which resembles circular ink blots. Meanwhile we see images of a young girl, who only appears in a series of visions and flashbacks. She is presumably Dr, Banks’ daughter Hannah who is now dead. The viewers assume that her illness and subsequent death is a tragedy that has already happened in the past. Later it becomes apparent that as Louise masters the language of the aliens, she is actually experiencing visions of her future.
Dr. Louise Banks is able to divert an international crisis and intergalactic war by contacting the Chinese army general in the nick of time but at this point the sci-fi part of the movie seems to be over. The twist at the end and the movie’s conclusion will leave the audience in a pensive mood because of the question it poses: If you could view your life as an image, a story told nonlinear and infinite symbol, would you change it?
Because of the gift, the aliens have given her, Dr. Louise Banks knows that she will get married and that her daughter will die from incurable cancer. She also knows that her husband would be unable to forgive her for keeping this knowledge a secret from him and eventually leave her.. Even with all this heartbreak foreseen in her own future, Louise chooses to go down this path and embrace her future.
In my opinion, this underlying theme was the best part about the movie as it tells the viewers that life is a sum of all our experiences, the good, the bad, the ugly, the joyous and the tragic. If Dr. Louise had chosen to avoid the pain of losing her daughter to a fatal disease, she would also have to make the choice of not having a child in the first place and consequently would not have experienced all the joy her marriage and Hannah bring in the initial few years.
The roles of the media, the politicians and the military around the globe are also shown to be very typical. The media analysts blame the governments for their poor handling of the unprecedented situation. The politicians blame the military for having no solution to the extra-terrestrial guests and the military just wants to strike with every arsenal available. The aliens, in fact, show that much more can be achieved by the human race by mutual co-operation and sharing of information.
This movie is definitely not for those who want to see aliens being blasted by guns, lasers and bombs. It is for those people who want to understand the importance of keeping communication lines open and for those who yearn for peace, harmony and co-operation between governments for the betterment of human race.
The movie got multiple Oscar nominations in categories such as Best Motion Picture of the Year, Best Achievement in Directing, Best Adapted Screenplay, as well as Best Achievement in Cinematography, Film Editing, Production Design and Sound Mixing’. Jeremy Renner and Forest Whitaker play rather limited parts but Amy Adam shines in her role as she struggles to make sense of everything that is happening around her. The ending is beautifully crafted and critics have praised
Jeremy Renner and Forest Whitaker play rather limited parts but Amy Adam shines in her role as she struggles to make sense of everything that is happening around her. The ending is beautifully crafted and critics have praised Arrival as one of the best science fiction movies in decades.
Director: Denis Villeneuve
Writers: Eric Heisserer (screenplay),
Based on the story “Story of Your Life” written by Ted Chiang
Cast: Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, Forest Whitaker