By Jose Guillen
“Arrival” is pure movie magic that hasn’t been seen since 1977’s “Close Encounter of the Third-kind”, where scientists use musical notes or tones to communicate with extraterrestrials.
Amy Adams plays Dr. Louise Banks who is not a typical hero. She is a professor of linguistics recruited by the U.S.military into helping them bridge communication with the alien visitors.
Adams’ portrayal of her character brings a level of human connection not common among this genre.
The normal sci-fi trope is usually the United States sending their most brave soldier or hero, followed by a version of battle sequences and Michael Bay explosions.
The concept of Linguistic relativity is introduced as an element in the movie, which is a concept-paradigm in linguistics and cognitive science that holds that the structure of a language affects its speakers’ cognition or world view.
Banks is racing against time since various fail attempts were made prior to her involvement with the visitors’ colossal ships which are causing confusion and panic across the globe. The race is on to communicate with the aliens before a fractious military starts pounding their craft with missiles.
“Language,” one character says, “is the first weapon drawn in a conflict.” This alien language, shown as ink in water left floating in the air by colossal, octopus-like beings, is the riddle at the heart of “The Arrival” and understanding the language is the key to understanding the movie.
All too often a movie comes along promising a view of what the audience thinks is cool. Only to realize they are fed something completely different and in this occasion amazingly better than what the trailer shows. Giving viewers something they didn’t even know was missing until experiencing this for themselves.
The imagery often used is of hiding the alien for the suspend factor. Arrival gives a glimpse touching on Lovecraftian mythos of cosmic monsters only to find intelligent visitors not bound by earthly rules.
The movie touches on two points one of fate and pre-destination and the insightfulness about choices we make.
Following, along a non-linear path of storytelling, bringing you into a full circle moment of your own. The clues and interpretation is left for the viewer but craftily guided by the director from beginning to end.