Belfast Telegraph

Arrival review: Close encounter with alien kind

By Damon Smith

Twelve giant obloid spacecraft enter Earth's atmosphere and descend over seemingly random locations including Devon, the Black Sea and a lush meadow in Montana. US Army Colonel Weber (Forest Whitaker) leads the American response and recruits emotionally scarred linguistics expert Dr Louise Banks (Amy Adams) to decipher a coded language used by the visitors.

Banishing painful memories of her young daughter's death, Louise aligns with military scientist Ian Donnelly (Jeremy Renner) to unravel the conundrum, while the CIA, led by Agent Halpern (Michael Stuhlbarg), considers the terrifying possibility that we are in the calm before an intergalactic storm.

Arrival is contemplative science-fiction drama anchored by Adams' mesmerising performance, imagining mankind's shambolic reaction to first contact with an otherworldly race.

Four stars

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