Critics “Spellbound” With “Beautiful and Thought-Provoking” Arrival

by Stuart Winchester, Viacom
A scene from the film ARRIVAL by Paramount Pictures

A scene from the film Arrival by Paramount Pictures

We don’t really know if or when space aliens will drop out of the sky, or whether they’ll come bearing the secrets of interstellar travel or a boring machine to hallow out Earth’s core. But we do know this: when Denis Villeneuve-directed Arrival invades theaters tomorrow, we’re going to collectively witness one of the most well-crafted guesses yet as to how the encounter between earthlings and interstellar guests could go.

Says who? Well, pretty much everyone:

Arrival is such a beautiful and thought-provoking film that it almost single-handedly makes up for every bad aliens-coming-to-Earth film you’ve ever seen. Yes, even Independence Day: Resurgence. The latest from director Denis Villeneuve (Sicario) is a sci-fi movie about life, death and learning a literally alien language on a deadline. Amy Adams turns in one of her best performances, Jeremy Renner shows he’s just as good a math geek as an Avenger, and Villeneuve puts a gorgeous and rich narrative on screen that’s as much about miscommunication among humans as it is communication with extraterrestrials.” – Bill Truitt, USA Today

“The dozen alien vessels in Arrival – stormcloud black, prolate hemispheroids the size of upended airports – aren’t easy to miss. But for sheer neck-craning scale, the film’s ideas and ambitions match them inch for inch. The magnificent new film from Denis Villeneuve is the kind of science fiction picture that hands its audience rocket packs, then goes arcing off into the heavens and dares you to keep up.” – Robbie Collin, The Telegraph

Arrival plays like a high-end, handsomely appointed, feature-length version of a classic Twilight Zone episode. Most of the thrills and chills are of the intellectual and philosophical sort, and we’re asked to take a leap of faith when it comes to the time-space continuum, and why not, let’s do it.” – Richard Roeper, Chicago Sun Times

“Amy Adams is a miracle worker of an actress – she makes us believe in whoever and whatever she’s playing. In Arrival, a mesmerizing mindbender directed with searching mind and heart by the Quebec-born Denis Villeneuve, Adams plays a woman who talks to aliens. Or at least she wants to, desperately. … It’s hard not to be spellbound, along with our heroes when they enter the gravity-free spacecraft and attempt to interact with these visitors from behind a glass wall.” – Peter Travers, Rolling Stone

“Do they come in peace? That’s the question at the center of every story that invites us to imagine we might not be the only sentient beings in the reach of 200 billion-or-so known galaxies. And it’s one French-Canadian filmmaker Denis Villeneuve (Sicario) answers not quickly but with sublime style in Arrival, an alien-invasion fantasy that operates within the genre at the same time as it subverts it — large-scale movie-star sci-fi filtered through the tricky, esoteric lens of art-house cinema.” – Leah Greenblatt, Entertainment Weekly

“Your first thought upon hearing the plot line of Arrival, in which a dozen alien spaceships land in different spots on Earth, is probably ‘Here we go again.’ And yes, the alien sub-genre of sci-fi movies is a crowded and often predictable one. But director Denis Villeneuve has a lot more in mind with this intelligent, cerebral and absorbing new film that, among other things, will firmly put five-time Oscar-nominated Amy Adams back in the race.” – Pete Hammond, Deadline

While you’ll have to wait for the release to see why everyone is raving about Adams, you can get a bit more insight into her role as Louise Banks in the clip below:

The cast seems just as excited as the critics:

Arrival, which will land on Friday, Nov. 11, is the first of several upcoming Paramount films that is receiving critical buzz, including Allied (Nov. 23), starring Brad Pitt and Marion Cotillard; Martin Scorsese’s Silence (Dec. 23); and Fences (Dec. 25), starring Viola Davis and Denzel Washington.


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