Friday I decided to go to the first showing of The Accountant at the movies. It's the one starring Ben Affleck who is an assassin with issues. I thought I might get some inspiration for my second Inquisitor book (the serial killer inspired by the Inquisition.)
But as I stood in the line for tickets, the woman in front of me bought tickets for Arrival. My brain went "Arrival, the weird one with the aliens..." So I bought a ticket to that one instead. I'd seen the commercials and the previews. It piqued my curiosity.
Arrival is not your stereotypical "hey-the-bad-aliens-have-landed!!!"
Instead it is like being in someone else's dream. Amy Adams, a prominent linguist who teaches at some college/university (it is never clarified), is facing a huge classroom with only four or five students. Frowning, she asks her students where the rest of them are. Then the cellphones start ringing. One of the students asks her to turn on the television to a news channel, please.
She does and they all see a series of strangely shaped alien craft hovering over the Earth in twelve different locations around the world. The students are released for the day and martial law is declared until they know the intent of the extraterrestrials.
Later she sits at home staring out at the view of her exquisite lake home (tell me a university that pays enough to have such a house!) Suddenly a helicopter lands in her yard and military men emerge onto her lawn. A Colonel played by Forest Whitaker comes to her door. It seems she is one of the world's best linguists. She is asked to be a part of the contact team for the craft hovering over Montana.
She finally relents and off she goes.
There she meets a physicist, played by Jeremy Renner, heading the scientific team. Together with military representatives, they make first contact with the aliens.
Everything is indistinct as if enshrouded by mist. The creatures, much larger than humans, resemble enormous squids with seven legs on which they stand. They make loud noises, sometime with so many decibels the theatre seats shook like the old "sensurround" days of the movie Earthquake. For you younger folk, the tremors in that movie rumbled so loudly and deeply, the chairs seemed to vibrate like they would in a quake...
The visitors have a written language which the professor ultimately deciphers so they are able to communicate. Their reason for coming to Earth will surprise you.
Then the Russians and the Chinese stop all communication with the rest of the world, unable to communicate with the visitors and sure they are hostile. Yep, the Earth is brought to the brink of WWIII.
Tense moments ensue until resolution is reached.
I won't tell you about what they learn or how the linguist learns it...
You need to see it for yourself. I'd give this one a solid nine out of ten. It is a lovely film with memorable characters, an excellent screenplay, atmospheric sets and effects, and a somnambulistic quality (like they are all walking in a shared dream.)
It reminded me of what an able actor Amy Adams is. Also showed me Jeremy Renner's capabilities extend well beyond the Marvel films. (Not that I'm bad-mouthing those - solid fan, here.)
This one will stay with you for a while.
I was so stunned by it when I started writing this post on Friday afternoon, I spelled poor Ben Affleck's name as Afflack. Somehow I knew that was wrong..Why did I see a duck? When I figured it out, I decided to postpone writing this review...
Okay, the Cowboy game is coming on!!!
Until next time...