Arrival (2016) Film Review

 

3 STARS

Arrival has received universal critical acclaim and has grossed $130 million worldwide at the box office against a $47 million budget. Arrival also received 2 Golden Globe nominations including a nomination for Amy Adams in the Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama category. One would assume that Arrival is a great film that everyone should see, I hate to say it but I was not blown away by this supposedly fresh and unique take on the sci-fi genre. I’m conflicted because there were aspects I appreciated and I think I know what they were aiming for, however it never really clicked with me.

WHAT I LOVED

AMY ADAMS

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Amy Adams was the standout. The 5 time Oscar nominated actress can do no wrong and deserves her Golden Globe nomination for her performance in Arrival. Amy Adams has to be one of my favourite actresses because she gives powerful and diverse performances in films such as Enchanted (2007), Doubt (2008), American Hustle (2013) and Big Eyes (2014). She isn’t afraid to tackle any genre as she takes on a role and gives it her all.

This time she strips it back and there’s power in the stillness of her performance; we meet her character Louise at a moment in her life where she is numb from the hardships that life has dealt her and when the aliens arrive she has to find her purpose again. Amy Adams is captivating because you’re constantly watching trying to decipher what her character is feeling and processing as she’s dealing with the current state of events as well as dealing with the repercussions of her past.

DIRECTION

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The only other film I’ve seen from Denis Villeneuve is the Emily Blunt fronted Sicario (2015) which I loved. There are similarities in terms of his direction; he doesn’t rush the pace or tone of the film and he lets moments just be. It may be slow for some but for me it’s Denis allowing the audience to be in the moment and take in every little thing in. As I was watching Arrival I could detect the sense of direction from Denis, however towards the end it never really took off and the pay off was quite anti-climactic (which I’ll expand upon later on) but on the whole I loved his directing style.

SUBVERTING GENRE

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The one thing Arrival has going for it is that it isn’t a flashy and loud sci-fi blockbuster extravaganza; it’s very stripped back and quiet. Going back to the points about Denis’ directing style and Amy Adam’s performance there is a stillness which is refreshing and the film does it’s best to try to be thought provoking and giving little bits away to keep the audience watching.

 

WHAT I DIDN’T LOVE

ALIENS (not the film)

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What were up with those aliens? The design of the aliens were so bland and unoriginal. The whole concept of the aliens were wasted and I was disappointed thinking that Arrival would offer something we haven’t seen before and yet it was very generic in design.

THE MESSAGE

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The overall message as well didn’t really connect as much as I wanted it to. I understood what the film was going for and there’s a moment where Amy Adams asks Jeremy Renner’s character Ian whether if he knew what life would deal him would he still go for it. Without giving too much away I understood what the film was trying to convey to the audience but found it pointless and a wasted opportunity be told through a sci-fi film; there was no need for aliens to come down and serve the purpose they served. I remember the film finishing and just thinking what on earth have I just watched? Because even though I understood the overall message of the film there were still some unanswered questions.

 

CONCLUSION

From the director who brought us Sicario (2015), featuring a great cast consisting of Amy Adams (American Hustle, Her, Enchanted, The Muppets) and Jeremy Renner (The Hurt Locker, Avengers Assemble, American Hustle, Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol) and the fact Arrival had rave reviews I was left feeling very disappointed and didn’t feel the film delivered on what was being promised to the audiences. There are some positives to be taken away from the film viewing (as discussed previously) however ultimately it isn’t a sci-fi that is going to become a modern day classic. Dare I say that I’d rather watch Interstellar (2014) than Arrival.

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Allied (2016) Film Review

Hello readers of Collision Film.

Sorry that it’s been a while since I last wrote a blog post but I have some exciting news. I have started writing for Creators.co which is a publishing platform for any enthusiastic and passionate writer, and their goal is to help writers build their brand and to find their audience. So I have been doing my research and finding out more about this platform. Last week I posted my first film review and want to share it with you all at Collision Film.

Here is the link to my review at Creators.co. (click on Creators.Co to be taken to my film review)

But I would like to share it with you on Collision Film as well so here is my film review of Allied (2016):

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4 STARS

Allied is a film that I have been looking forward to watch all year; it features two leads who happen to be some of my favourite actors. Back to the Future (1985) master Robert Zemeckis allies Oscar winners Marion Cotillard and Brad Pitt to make a romantic epic that grips you and keeps you emotionally invested.

The film tells the tale of intelligence officer Max Vatan (Brad Pitt) and resistance fighter Marianne Beausejour (Marion Cotillard) falling in love during their mission in Casablanca. The film chronicles their love story through the time following and audiences will see how their relationship fares given their occupations of being spies. The chemistry between Brad Pitt and Marion Cotillard is convincing and a joy to watch; we get to see them during the course of their relationship and yet discover them as individual characters.

Allied covers quite a lot in the narrative; the first act where they meet on their mission is almost like a mini film. Smartly paced, with a sense of mystery and anticipation of how their mission will fare, the film doesn’t try to hard as it feels effortless. Marion Cotillard exudes mystery and class as seasoned resistance fighter who has been in the game long enough to know how to work people. Brad Pitt’s character has a different approach as a man with a quite yet firm exterior, yet he manages to work well with Marianne Beausejour forming a bond that will help them get through their mission.

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After their time in Casablanca is really where the story heats up. Adapting to life in London can they truly be trusted? Because we’ve spent enough time with them during the early days of their relationship we are emotionally invested in these characters and how they can coexist together when their occupations have taught them to do otherwise. There is never a dull moment in this film because it keeps you guessing and keeps you interested to see where the story goes. There are times in the film where we’re not sure whether to trust these characters or whether to root for them; I love how Allied plays with people’s emotions and keeps the audiences interest.

There is so much to admire in the film; from the locations to the costumes. There is such an elegant feel to Allied and you can’t help but think of classics such as Casablanca (1942) of which the film references in the early stages of the film. Whilst the film is heavily stylised there is a natural feel to the film which is largely due to the lead actors performances. You’ll walk into this film thinking it’s one thing but this film is more three dimensional than you may think.

If you love Marion Cotillard and Brad Pitt then definitely watch Allied. Robert Zemeckis switches it up again as we have seen him go from 80’s favourite Back to the Future (1985), to Oscar winning Forrest Gump (1994) even to The Polar Express (2004). This is definitely a film that will leave you needing a moment to compose yourself after the film has ended.

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