Alien invasion is in general not a good thing in the movies. For every ‘Close Encounters of the Third Kind’ there is an Independence Day or three. Which makes Arrival the new film from Dennis Villeneuve, a welcome change.
The idea is simple Amy Adams is an expert linguist called upon to decipher the language of a strange group of a lines that have appeared in 12 sites around the earth.
This idea might not seem to be a premise fraught with tension but the juxtaposition of Adams and her desire to understand with the military personal around the world and their desire to take out these dangerous space invaders, makes for riveting viewing.
Like ‘Alien’ or ‘Gravity’ the use of a female protagonist also helps to give the film a different narrative compass. Adams is a hero because she is brave enough to conquer her fear of the alien other rather than blow them to kingdom come. This is a lesson rarely seen in this type of genre and one that is all the more welcome because of it