“Arrival,” directed by Denis Villeneuve

Movie, 2016

A Close Encounter-tinged movie, in which a Language Professor is tasked by a gruff and not-too patient military, to translate alien messages. This basic framework, in a film which is darkly lit and mumbled, uses many sci-fi tropes and devices to inject significance and tension. A film, really, which tries too hard and doesn’t quite deliver, with everything about if feeling old-fashioned and muddy. Some great ideas and a lovely, poised pace, but as the film meanders and promises, it flashes back and forward without too much effect. Fans of opaque plotting and ramped up significance may enjoy this, but others will baulk at the film’s sense of its own significance, under which if falters, somewhat.

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