I have to hand it to Netflix for once. I don’t generally get much use out of their predictive algorithms, but when Arrival was suggested for my DVD queue I took the bait and am very grateful I did. I hadn’t heard of the film before so I went into it my favorite way – open and curious. There really is no better way to see a film.
Now, upon the start of the film, I almost immediately had reservations. We were thrown right into a very dramatic and emotional family scene the details of which I won’t spoil. What was going on? Was this a science-fiction alien film or not?
As it turns out, it is a science-fiction alien film and a whole lot more.
Based on a story written by Ted Chiang, we get a film that touches on the deepest parts of what is means to be conscious. Language and time intersect in ways that challenge our brains to understand and that stretch to the limits our notions of how things are.
On the visual side, we get an awesome spectacle of moody greys. Some wide shots left me with a feeling of being out(in) there in the middle of the scene with the actors. The sounds and the music enhanced the already epic feel of the film and are amazing in their own right. Kudos to the folks responsible.
I’m struggling to write something meaningful about this film without giving away too much. It really is the kind of film you want to just experience fresh, without a ton of preconceived notions about it. Put yourself there, in the flesh. It’s surreal and it’s real, and the more you feel it in your stomach, the more you know you’ve opened yourself up to really experience this epic journey.
To mention a turn off in the midst of all this praise: the film pushes a world government and unity that normally reeks of corporate globalism, but in the context of the situation, it works organically. Of course, it is no secret that a false flag alien invasion scenario is high on their list of plans to finalize their world government, so Caveat Emptor.
On a strictly entertainment level, subconscious programming aside (if it can ever be ‘aside’), this is one hell of a great film and highly recommended for those who seek out science fiction grounded in human experience. It will not disappoint.