I was a little nervous going into this film. With the resurgence of Star Wars films in the last 17 years there has certainly been some ups and downs and more downs than ups. I enjoyed the recent addition to the saga, but was unclear as to how this film was going to fit in with the Star Wars story. My initial impression was that this film would be the first part of a new trilogy, but I am glad that this is a standalone piece that fits in spectacularly with the original trilogy.
Villenueve has been successful with several movies in recent years, including Prisoners and Sicario. In his latest film, Arrival, he takes on a the concept of time and memory. In the opening sequence we hear Louise, played by Amy Adams, say,” Memory is a strange thing… It doesn’t work like I thought it did. We are so bound by time; by its order.” Villenueve is priming us for a thoughtful journey that focuses on time, memory, linguistics, and humanitarianism on a global and personal scale. I found the techniques that Villenueve used to weave his story together to be refreshing and surprising. Language plays such a huge roll in this film in both the script and the cinematography. There is a poetic vision that seems to shine through so many aspects of the film, the landscapes, the aliens, and their vessels, to name a few. The cyclical nature of the universe also comes across in this film, from the opening shot to the credits there are countless circles, rings, halos. The screenplay by Eric Heisserer is one of the best of the year. I can’t say enough about this film except for that it is a must see. I know I will need to watch it again.