Director Denis Villeneuve has made one of the year’s best science fiction films.
Amy Adams stars as Dr. Louise Banks, a linguistics teacher crippled by visions of a daughter who died of a rare illness. She lives a life of seclusion, where the only thing she really does is teach her class and mope around her lakefront home. (Man, that must be one abnormally high paying teacher’s gig.)
During class, a bunch of phones go off, a student instructs her to turn on the TV, and, bam, that’s how she discovers the planet seems to be getting a visit from an alien force. Strange giant pods have parked themselves all over the planet, and nobody knows their intent. A solemn military man (Forest Whitaker) shows up in Louise’s office and informs her the world needs her. She has a sense of purpose again. It isn’t long before she’s inside an alien ship trying to talk to the “Heptapods,” large elephant looking aliens with seven legs. She’s joined by a science officer played by a surprisingly low-key Jeremy Renner.
The movie is drawing comparisons to Spielberg’s Close Encounters of the Third Kind. It’s a very different type of film from that one. If you are looking for some sort of action pic, you will not find that here. This is a sci-fi movie that gives itself time to breathe, and while it does have a few action scenes, for the most part, it’s intellectual fare.
Next up for Villeneuve is Blade Runner 2049, a sequel to the Ridley Scott classic and another sci-fi effort. Based on his work with Arrival, I have to say that the Blade Runner sequel stands as one of my most anticipated movies.