Thursday, March 9, 2017

#JustaQuickiePlease: Arrival Review

Cerebral, engaging, and visually stunning, Arrival is science fiction in its truest form.  More focused on provoking and intriguing rather than merely entertaining, this alien encounter adventure thrills and amazes with a solid story and characters instead of gratuitous action and a heavy reliance on overstated effects.   Make no mistake, the visuals are incredible, but they support this production rather than lead it.  Renner is appropriately somber and subtle, which sadly is the extent of his range but definitively apropos here.  Adams is stellar, her best film to date, but again, the writers cater to and effectively exploit her limited artistic prowess.  Whitaker and the remaining ensemble excel, but the tone is so well paced, it would be hard for them to stumble.  Director, Villeneuve takes his time telling this tale, and in doing so is able to embrace all of the complexities of the concept without losing a single step.  Do not expect the pomp and circumstance of so many others in the genre, instead, sit back and enjoy a carefully and compassionately woven narrative that challenges the audience's pre-existing ideas of time, space, reality, and purpose.  All while asking a deep and probing, nearly disturbing question.  If you knew what was at the end, would you still take the journey?  4 out of 5 Kernels: for the purist, this is a close encounter of the best kind.

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