Mark Reardon (@MarkReardonKMOX)By Mark Reardon

Aliens have arrived in pods across our planet in the new science fiction mystery thriller “Arrival” — which opens in theaters this weekend.

Amy Adams plays Louise Banks, a linguistics professor taken by a military general — played by Forest Whitaker — to a remote location in Montana where one of 12 of the egg shaped vessels hovers beneath the clouds over the earth. Her job, along with a scientist played by Jeremy Renner, is to help the military — who has already had contact with the aliens — communicate with them to translate why they are here and ask them what they want.

It’s a little bit “Close Encounters” and a little “Interstellar” (which i loved) mixed in with a touch of “Contact.”

Director Denis Villeneuve (“Prisoner” and “Sicario”) does an excellent job executing the haunting realism of what an actual alien invasion might look and feel like. This is one of those thinking person’s science fiction dramas which isn’t dumbed down and never gets hokey. How many movies in this genre can ever say that? Amy Adams carries the emotional core of the movie with grace and dignity with many of her most effective moments coming with no dialogue needed. The movie is framed around her backstory involving a family tragedy and a broken marriage. It seems Dr. Banks needs the aliens more than the aliens need her. There’s intrigue and wonderment to the way this story unfolds, and there’s no doubt it’s pretty bold filmmaking. But it’s also confusing and muddled. I’ll admit I’m not very smart, but the big reveal at the end had me scratching my head saying ‘Huh? What just happened?’ more than being a satisfying conclusion.
My comment immediately after the movie was something along the lines of ‘I really would have liked it if I knew what the blank was going on.’

 

I’m giving “Arrival” a solid B.

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