The unassuming people of Montana are jolted by news of a massive spaceship from an alien world docked in a nearby field and 11 other such places around the world. The baffled military have nothing apart from muffled sounds emitted by the invaders in response to their questions on the purpose of visit. Frantic to find answers, the reach out to Dr. Louise Banks, a linguistic specialist and theoretical physicist, Ian Donnelly for help. When they painstakingly try to establish a channel of communication with the aliens, unbelievable facts and events roll by, altering the course of action!
Running Time:
116 min
Release date:
24 November 2016
Directed by:
Denis Villeneuve
Produced by:
Shawn Levy
Dan Levine
Aaron Ryder
David Linde
Written by:
Denis Villeneuve
Eric Heisserer
Based on:
Story of Your Life by
Ted Chiang
Amy Adams
Jeremy Renner
Forest Whitaker
Michael Stuhlbarg
Tzi Ma
Mark O’Brien
Music by:
Jóhann Jóhannsson
Shot by:
Bradford Young
Editing by:
Joe Walker
Distributed by:
Paramount Pictures

What’s Hot

  • Amy Adams commands total control of the proceedings despite maintaining a silent and calm demeanor while playing Dr. Louise Banks who holds the key in resolving the conflict in question. Her wide range of emotions varying from that of a joyous mother welcoming her child to a helpless one unable to save her child are exemplary and she even manages to throw in some convincing shades of surprise and awe at extra-terrestrial contact.
  • The screenplay from Eric Heisserer arguably plays the second most influential role in keeping the proceeding gripping till the end, just behind Amy’s brilliance. As it weaves in and out of the present day in the most remarkable of ways, the theatrical experience becomes completely immersive.
  • When it comes to Sci-fi movies with Alien invasions, the unwritten rule is to put in heavy focus on the intimidating space ships which would dominate the screen time, but its Dennis Villeneuve at the helm here who doesn’t fall for the clichés and puts more screen time on the deep personal connect with the characters – his forte!
  • The mystery in the story’s core is upheld by the misty visuals showing the alien beings and space pods with a haunting score further enhancing the experience to make it truly unearthly – craftily executed in a manner that complements the premise.

What’s Not

  • The roles of Jeremy Renner and Forest Whitaker could have been better etched we felt as they were not even playing second fiddle to Amy Adams who seemed to be the doing all the important work. Whitaker especially had no control over the camp despite being the Colonel and looked pretty subdued and trivial all the while.
  • Fuzzy explanations given for how the actions of Dr. Banks had the desired effect in the climax, did not seem very effective. Leaving it open without any leads and have the audience interpret is one thing, but giving some incomplete lead leave us wondering rather than letting us interpret on our own.




Verdict Stamp

'Arrival' is an apt title on many levels as it signifies a refreshing treatment given to a sci-fi core story which transforms it into a riveting edge-of-the-seat mystery thriller that empowers the characters rather than overpowering visual effects and reaps the success of commanding acting!