Saturday, November 12, 2016


If cerebral science fiction films appeal to you, then add this new sci-fi drama to your "must see" list. Don't expect much to happen though as the action, such as it is, is minimal. It's never mentioned in the film but if you have any idea what the "Sapir-Whorf hypothesis" is all about, you will probably appreciate the story much more than the average viewer.

When twelve alien vessels appear in various locations on earth, Linguist Dr. Louise Banks and physicist Dr. Ian Donnelly are brought in by the U.S. military to try to communicate with the aliens hovering over Montana. Dr. Banks, the main protagonist, is played by Amy Adams. Jeremy Renner plays Dr. Donnelly and the two of them spend the entire film trying to communicate with the aliens. Deciphering their written language becomes the key and if you are still awake by the third act, there is a revelation that turns the film on it's head. It just takes a long time to get there.

 The film co-stars Forest Whitaker as Colonel Webber,  who is in charge of the investigation and Michael Stuhlbarg as Agent Halpern, the CIA agent suspicious of the alien intent. The film, however, really belongs to Ms. Adams as she is the key character to the story, bringing an emotional element to what otherwise would be a dry scientific treatise on how to communicate with aliens. She also does a great job "selling" the whole concept.

 I can appreciate Director Denis Villeneuve wanting to tackle a new genre but a thoughtful, philosophical, and theoretical sci-fi film isn't what you might expect from the trailer. Having said that, you still may find yourself pleasantly surprised.

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