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Yojimbo's Movie Reviews (2326)

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Arrival (2016) 
"Arrival" by Yojimbo
3.5/4 stars

Twelve alien craft appear around the world prompting the U.S. military to engage the services of a linguist who must ascertain their intentions before their more trigger-happy counterparts declare war upon the visitors.

Although the premise to Arrival bears more than a passing resemblance to that of Independence Day, anyone expecting another CGI infested firework display will be disappointed. There is next to no action during the running time of the film, it instead concentrating on the characters and the grander themes of communication and the need to find common ground and purpose with those who appear “alien” to us. For this reason it reminded me a little of Monsters in that it is more a story that involves aliens rather than generic science fiction. It also shares plot elements with The Abyss, has the kind of esoteric plot twist common to Christopher Nolan’s work and I’m sure many will write it off as “Close Encounters for Guardian readers”.

But Arrival is a beautifully crafted, nicely played and thoughtful film that relies more on character-driven drama than special effects and explosions, which makes it a welcome change from the usual Hollywood fare.


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