“Amy Adams is terrific!”, is my conclusion, but let’s go deeper into what Arrival brought me on a cold sunday afternoon.
I felt weird watching this film. Sure the woman sited next to me did not help since she couldn’t stop sighing very loud every time a sequence lasted more than 20 seconds… No, it’s something that all Denis Villeneuve’s movies do to me. First he has this capacity to film characters inside houses that you can’t associate to their “home”. By that I mean, Amy Adams’ character: Louise Banks, lives in a cold yet fully lighted house, with a magnificent vue but still the inside is sterile and unwelcoming. How could she possibly be happy in a house so impersonal?
Since the beginning you feel her sadness, her lack of enjoyment in a grey world that she’s not connected to. You, the public, you follow her in her short-sighted vision of the world she lives in. Wherever she goes you go too, because all along you keep following her from behind, focusing more on her ponytail than the landscape because everything around her is blurry. Sometimes you manage to see the full picture, there’s not a lot to see. The alien ship is as cold as the main character’s house, lost in the middle of a large field completely deserted.
Few dialogues and big emotions
What I thought was big in this movie is the strong emotions that it manages to make you feel without any words. I suffocated with Banks while she was in her suit the first time, and I felt this high emotional charge on my guts for 1 hour and 56 minutes, amplified by long and silent sequences. Actually, I even felt that I was the burden on her shoulder because of the way it was filmed.
The intrigue is well written as well. You start in a universe you’re accepting as it is because Adams plays so well there is no way you want to question her story and what she shares with you. The aliens reminded me of the big spiders in Enemy, and knowing that first film, I was in an intense reflexion all along thinking maybe all of it was an analogy to the main character’s loss… Sometimes it’s just better to watch naively!
A fulfilling ending
Finally, I liked the ending. There is a moment when everything starts to make sense and you realise that when the credits will go on the screen there will be no questioning on hold. You even grasp a moment of happiness, a sour feeling but very truthful to the film and what it relates. I suppose I said it already but, Amy Adams was bluffing in Arrival. It is impressive how much she can express only with her eyes. She’s far far away from Enchanted now, but still perfect in everything she undertakes.