I was really looking forward to renting this movie based on what I had heard from friends. I am a big science fiction fan, so anything with aliens, planets, space travel etc, I am a customer. But as much as I wanted to love it, it lost me on a few issues.
(Warning: spoilers ahead)
I love a sci-Fi movie with a brain and this one provides that in spades. But unfortunately, I think it drags too slow and then rushes all the conclusions and mind bending reveals at the end in a manner that leaves you spinning.
If you’re a fan of linguistic and physics theories and heady machinations like: Nonlinear Orthography and the Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis, you’ll love this movie. Arrival is a stimulating exploration of these themes and I love such metaphysical contemplations, but I thought it wasn’t clearly brought together in a manner that felt satisfying. I felt like we jumped to conclusions or answers before I really fully understood the questions. It felt like I was being carried on a mental rollercoaster and trying to read signs that we passed by and this left me frustrated.
I loved the concepts, the aliens and especially the language, but the finale left me disgruntled.
I do think there are some very interesting theological concepts to extrapolate from the film, like predestination and free will, omniscience and omnipotence. I spend a lot of time wrestling with biblical doctrines, concepts and realities that are based on another dimension’s reality, so the struggle is real. This movie felt familiar from that point of view. There is so much connected to biblical faith and understanding that often stretches the brain to excruciatingly great lengths. Much of the time, I end up tapping out at with a general apprehension but not a full comprehension and maybe that’s why this movie left me agitated more than entertained.
So I recommend it, simply because I want more films like this, more brain than brawn. Bug hunts are great but I want directors to play to my mind and heart as well as my guts. This was a good attempt and I wanted to love it, but in the end, I just liked it.