The Discourse: Ep.1: Arrival

We go to the movies to be entertained. But, once in a while a movie comes along that asks us to invest ourselves into it completely. We need to be watching very closely since each scene will tell you something. You might not understand the movie in ‘one watching’, it happened for Inception. It happened for Interstellar and Arrival joins these prestigious films in making the viewers think and Dennis Villeneuve has made sure that his vision has been translated into the screens to the fullest potential setting the right moods with his scenes and backed up with a beautiful OST.


Arrival starts off with montages of what we assume to be the past life of linguistics professor Louise(Amy Adams). We learn that she is a single mother and her daughter grows up to be a teen and her life is cut short by a terminal disease. Amy currently teaches at a local university and lives a lonely life. Then, they arrive.

So eventually, Louise is contacted by Colonel Weber(Forest Whitaker) as she had taken part is some language decoding in a earlier assignment and her permit was still valid. He plays a tape and Louise is intrigued, but asks for her to be at the site, Weber rejects and leaves. But, they come back for her and while on the flight we meet fellow astro-physician Ian Donnelly(Jeremy Renner). They meet the heptapods and they seem to communicate with a strange circular signs. In between, we are shown the same montages which was shown earlier in the film about Louise’s daughter. What is the connection? What are the aliens here for? Are they here to destroy or to help? We find out in the end.


But, what blew my mind was the way time was handled in this film. Time was an important aspect for the major understanding of this movie as the core of the movie was about time and it’s perception. It is so beautifully told in this film and I’d be lying if I told that I never thought that Louise’s visions of her daughter were her past and not the present. We as humans are evolved beings and we perceive time as past, present and future. However, while communicating with the aliens and learning their language, Louise comes to know that the aliens consider everything as the same. They live in the past, present and future. They have come to teach humans their language and gift them their non-linear perception of time in order for them to help them in 3,000 years’ time when their species would require that help.


So, by understanding their language, Louise also understands the alien way of time perception. Louise is able to know details which she wouldn’t know, things that happen in the future. We slowly come to realize that the visions she gets about her daughter are of the future and she decides to embrace it going forward.

This was one of, if not the best film to have come out in 2016. Do not miss it!


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