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Monday
Nov142016

Arrival (2016)

Meaningful imagery abounds in Denis Villeneuve’s Arrival. The most significant shot involves a grid of video feeds from the command centers of Earth’s superpowers. As panic sets in over a vague message from the alien pods dotting our planet, the panels begin to go dark. In real time, humankind concludes that trying to decipher an utterly foreign language is futile, and that our chances of survival are much greater if we silo off and armor up. In the real world, we don’t have the Job-like persistence of linguistics expert Dr. Louise Banks (Amy Adams), who decodes the E.T.’s coffee-ring alphabet and reels us back from the edge. But we have Arrival, a lovely love-letter to language that celebrates the often frustrating and sometimes impossible-seeming work of communication. The film’s tagline could very well be, to borrow a popular phrase, “Stronger Together”—with an underscored, italicized, and outsized emphasis on “Together”.

Listen to Kicking the Seat Podcast #167 for an in-depth discussion of Arrival!

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