Amy Adams plays Dr. Louise Banks, a world-renowned linguist who, when we meet her, is teaching at a university and mourning the death of her child . One day, twelve massive floating orbs appear suddenly in locations all over the world. They seem to be trying to communicate with us, but because no one can understand them, the military calls in Dr. Banks to see if she can decipher their language, to see if they are hostile. Working alongside a scientist (Jeremy Renner), Dr. Banks begins to slowly form a bond with the aliens—too slowly for the antsy military leaders of the United States and China. The film becomes a race between Dr. Banks, who’s trying to figure out what the aliens are trying to tell us, and the warmongers ready to blow them out of the sky.

This movie has been highly praised as ‘intelligent’ science fiction. It may be and probably is if one watches it with a very analytical eye. The are many sudden scene shifts which at first glance seem to be distracting or diversions from the main plot. With closer examination, each particular scene shift locates another piece into the main plot puzzle.

However, some of us movie fans want titillation without encryption, entertainment on an obvious level, escapism without intellectual gymnastics. I am one of those. I like to watch movies as I like lying on the beach, simply basking in the sun awash in its warmth without analysis. This is how I prefer my movies. Basking it what is on the silver screen without interpreting the layers of thinking behind it.

With all that in mind, I cannot agree with the many supporters of this film, the many people who gave it very high praise. I can agree that much of the acting was very good, Amy Adams in particular but some of the actors, Forest Whitaker for one, were a little over the top, cardboard facsimiles of Hollywood stereotypes.

I have very cool praise for the movie as prima facia entertainment. That it was not. This movie was a cinematic jewel that demands introspection and analytical examination. How do we communicate deeply? How can we be more open to other communicators? Does living have other dimensions behind it? Is time an artifact created by humans to add organization to life? In reality is time non-existent?

Whew…not my idea of cinematic escapism.

If you go to movies to be intellectually pushed and prodded and then love analyzing what you saw to depth, Arrival will be your award winner.

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