Film Review: Arrival at the Tyneside Cinema

This is a review of the new release, Arrival, a mystery, science fiction film. I was pretty excited  to see this film and I had the pleasure of seeing it twice! It is available to see at all good cinemas near you.

The Director and actors?

The director of this 2016 movie was Denis Villeneuve. You can view this film in all good cinemas. The film is adapted from the book “Story of Your Life” by Ted Chiang.

The Plot

The film stated with a view of Louisa Bank’s open plan house and visualisations of her bringing up a child and seeing her grow up. Linguistics professor Louise Banks, acted by Amy Adams went to her lecture to find that half the students staring at a TV screen at mysterious UFOs landing all around the world. She was called in to help decode an alien language, and was sent to an army campsite, situated close to one of the 12 UFOs.  She lead an elite team of investigators in communicating with an alien species and finding out why they had come here and landed in 11 other countries. She was joined by a scientist named Ian Donnelly, played by Jeremy Renner, who led another team in the investigation.

She met the creatures for the first time and did not know how to communicate with them. She was taken aback by them and later, was told to analyse the audio and find a way to get information. She struggled to understand, and decided to take a visual approach with them. Her approach worked and on her second visit, the Heptopods produced signs, created in black air from one of their limbs. Not only that but Louisa formed a nice bond with the aliens. Louise analysed the signs and tried to link them to vowels, so they could communicate back. Louise was also having visions of her child and these thoughts helped her to solve little parts of the puzzle.

human whiteboard arrival.jpg
Louise uses a whiteboard to communicate with the Heptopods

On day 25 of the investigation, images of the alien were released to the public and many of the 12 invaded countries panicked and saw the aliens as a threat.This was in addition to the decoded message “use weapon” which made several countries uneasy including China, Russia and Pakistan. China was the first country to declare war on the aliens and they were followed by Pakistan and Russia.

Louise was told that the camp was going to be evacuated, but before they could go, Louise slipped into a small pod and was taken into the UFO. She saw the Heptopods and was no longer protected by her colleagues. They told her that by “use weapon”, they meant a gift and the gift was their language, and that their language could help you see the future, as they saw time differently and it was not linear.

Ian is comforting Louise after she entered the spaceship alone

At this point, the Heptopods were under attack by China and Russia, and as the aliens had good intentions, Louise had to some how stop the war.

She stole a phone and with the power of the Heptopods language, she told the Chinese president his wifes future dying words. She convinced him to change him mind and share all their insight with the other countries. The UFOs left as they had achieved their purpose and shared their language with the human race.

After the occurrences, Louise saw more visualisations of her daughter and it became clear. All her visualisations were future events. We learnt that her husband was Ian Donnelly, that they were going to have a child, that she was going to grow up and develop cancer and that he was going to leave her when she told him that she could see the future. But instead of hating and dreading every moment, she decided that she would embrace it and enjoy every moment while it lasted.


The film was really mysterious and you did not really know what would happen next. The film just showed how amazing mankind is and that we reply on other species for understanding.

This is one of the best sci fi films out this year… make sure you watch it!





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