Monday, 19 September 2016

ARRIVAL - Review By Greg Klymkiw - TIFF 2016 - Dreary SF designed to make us, ugh, THINK!

Hi there! My name is Amy Adams!
I am ubiquitous. And dour.
Arrival (2016)
Dir. Denis Villeneuve
Starring: Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, Forest Whitaker

Review By Greg Klymkiw

Oh, how poor Amy Adams, the Ubiquitous Amy Adams at that, suffers and suffers and suffers. As if her dour turn as the interminably grim raped-murdered-spurned-whatever failed art gallery owner in the abominable Nocturnal Animals wasn't enough, she now finds herself humourlessly sleepwalking through this dull New-Agey science fiction tripe in which her flashbacks of raising a daughter who eventually dies turn out to be flash forwards to the future, inspired by a whack of aliens who come to Earth on a mysterious peace mission.

And if you can believe that, I'm sure you will believe, like Uncle Jed in The Beverly Hillbillies, that you too can be sold the Brooklyn Bridge.

Arrival is awful, of course and we've seen it before. It was called Interstellar. Or was it called Contact? You know: weepy, humourless science fiction movies dabbling in the world of time, space, wormholes, etc. in order to make us Think (with a capital "T", 'natch) about our place in the universe.

Not that there aren't good, if not great movies that do this: Tarkovsky's Solaris, Chris Marker's La Jetée and Nicolas Roeg's The Man Who Fell to Earth spring immediately to mind. What separates these fine pictures from the aforementioned dross, is that none of them provide easy answers, nor are they obviously designed to please - at least not in the most dull, predictable touchy-feely fashion that infects the ubiquitous Amy Adams Made-for-TV-movie (and its ilk) like a virulent cancer.

One day this couple will spawn a doomed daughter.
It's no wonder they're so sad. So too, are we.
What we're saddled with in Arrival involves Dr. Louise Banks (Amy Adams), a linguist enlisted by military man Colonel Weber (Forest Whitaker) to communicate with aliens who have landed their spaceships (floating fat dildos) all over the world. The aliens appear to have come in peace, but mankind, being ever-so selfish and stupid, can't get their act together on whether to attack the aliens (thus ensuring world wide destruction) or to just give peace a chance and try to understand their otherworldly visitors. Louise is paired-up with an equally dour (and stiff-jawed) Ian Donnelly (Jeremy Renner), a physicist of considerable repute.

The two of them race against time to crack the language of the aliens before all Hell explodes. Not only do we get the aforementioned flashbacks that are really flash forwards of Louise's doomed daughter, but we also realize that she and Ian will become the hubby and wife to said doomed daughter. Add to this mix a ludicrous subplot involving Louise imparting the private dying words of a world leader's wife to him and within no time, the Earth is saved, as are the Aliens. Louise and Ian aren't so lucky. They get to live their lives knowing that they'll give birth to a little girl who is doomed to die a horrible death from an incurable ('natch) disease.

How many vats of lube does it take to insert alien dildos?
The whole thing is not only sickening, but within the first half-hour, we know everything. The movie is that predictably stupid. That it's dull adds insult to injury.

THE FILM CORNER RATING: *½ One-and-a-Half Stars

Arrival was a TIFF 2016 Gala Presentation.