WATCH: 'Arrival', Denis Villeneuve, 2016

We say: "Easily one of the best films of 2016, if not the century. Arrival demonstrates the potential of intellectually driven sci-fi to engage both hardcore fans of the genre and maintain widespread popular appeal. Notable for it's dislocated timeline which, without offering spoilers, seamlessly communicates the film's meditations on the connections between language, memory and thought. Based on Ted Chiang's powerful short story, the film's alien protagonists and their language are an astounding creation, demonstrating how complex encounters with another life form might be and how integral language - whether spoken, coded or otherwise - will be. The film is also remarkable for it's moving soundtrack and sound design, in particular the application of Max Richter's On the Nature of Daylight, a piece so doleful it's haunting. (The track is also used in the film Shutter Island for similar sequences incidentally). In all, another valuable and highly respectable addition to the growing body of twenty-first century sci-fi epics which represent something of a mainstream renaissance for the genre. Directed by Denis Villeneuve who, as the the subsequent director of Bladerunner 2049, has proven his mastery of visually striking films addressing themes pivotal to the fabric of science fiction. We can't wait to see what he does next."

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Henry Little