I, like many others, suffer from skepticism with any science fiction that grounds any plot in reality. Star Wars, Star Trek, Guardians, sure I can jump right into the world, because they are clearly grounded in alternate universes. But if I am supposed to believe that aliens could be landing next Thursday during my team rundown meeting, you tend to lose me.
Arrival opened with some the strongest cinematography of the season, (mainly because ominous fog is my aesthetic) and early on they had me. I believed in the tension and even the potential reality of close encounters.
The most fascinating aspects of Arrival to me was actually the human interactions. The logic behind the science and the required foreign policy. The combination of the brewing tension between the countries dealing with the “invasion” and the panic of knowing Adams is so close to breakthrough had me on the edge of my seat for the majority of the second act.
I was all in, up until the main reveal, which to me seemed ridiculous due to the sheer magnitude of the twist. Even in comparison to some other crazy futuristic sci-fi plots. Despite my wavering beliefs towards the end, it was beautifully shot and exceptionally acted, despite my general lukewarm feelings towards Jeremy Renner, I think we learned that he is best received as a supporting man under a stronger lead in Adams. 8/10