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8. Arrival – This Just In (#101)

Hosted by Andrew Quinn and Darren Mooney, This Just In is a subset of the fortnightly The 250 podcast, looking at notable new arrivals on the list of the 250 best movies of all-time, as voted for by Internet Movie Database Users.

This time, Denis Villeneuve’s Arrival.

podcast-arrival

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Non-Review Review: Arrival

Arrival has a number of great central ideas, and a fantastic central performance.

Those ideas get the film relatively far. Arrival is a film strong enough to stand on the basis of its high concepts and its leading performance. Arrival plays with a whole host of big and bold science-fiction ideas that hint at powerful philosophical questions about humankind’s place in the universe and their perception of their very existence. These ideas are clever and thought-provoking, capable of sparking many late-night conversations over pizza or refreshments in the way that great movies tend to do. Amy is simply wonderful as the movie’s primary character.

Going in circles.

Going in circles.

Unfortunately, Arrival hits something of a wall once it fully maps out its big ideas and its bold premises. The film has these sometimes clever notions, but never expends the necessary energy to tie them into a coherent plot or a logical character arc. Arrival seems to think that these ideas are smart enough that there is no thought required in how best to use them. The result is a muddled film, one that seems as likely to conjure frustrated questioning of its underlying logic as much as of its big ideas

Ironically, Arrival charts an interesting course but never quite gets there.

Falling to Earth.

Falling to Earth.

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