Poll

Louise Banks (Amy Adams) in Arrival:

had no choice.
5 (62.5%)
is a selfish shit.
3 (37.5%)

Total Members Voted: 8

Author Topic: Arrival  (Read 2597 times)

DarkeningHumour

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Re: Arrival
« Reply #10 on: November 19, 2016, 05:20:01 AM »
Did anyone else want to hear the rest of that lecture on Portuguese?

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DarkeningHumour

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Re: Arrival
« Reply #11 on: November 19, 2016, 05:26:25 AM »
I don't understand the rewatch talk. There is a point, a bit before they spell out what is actually going on, where you understand that her memories are in fact her future. In that moment, the entire scope of the movie becomes clear and I don't see what rewatching the movie would bring me. As long as you're able to remember the relevant scenes you can see what was really going on the whole time.

I reckon pretty much all discussion of this film will need to happen here instead of in the main review thread.

I'd count myself as extremely intellectually impressed by the film but not fully on board overall. While I'd say it deals with time issues far better than Interstellar, the way that is woven in feels a bit heavy handed, both at the moment, and in hindsight when you know why these "memories" were being interspersed.

But this is definitely a movie for the era, with its focus on linguistics and how the use and varying interpretations of language can have profound effects on how we think and act. One thing that struck me was how Louise discusses that if our language is introduced in the form of chess or mah jongg, some game or contest that has a winner and a loser and is thus zero-sum, that will change the use of language learned by the aliens, and thus how it is reflected back to us and might be interpreted differently. I think about how we talk about the election in almost purely horse-race terms, who won or lost. And granted, having all these individual districts where one person wins and one person loses spurs that. Imagine though if we had a nationwide proportional representation system electing a coalition government based on shares of the vote. Ultimately some views will end up advantaged and others not, but it isn't as immediate. Would this change how we approach politics, would this allow for less zero-sum thinking (which leads to obstructionism) and more non-zero-sum thinking (which the film directly cites), where we can try to find common links. Obviously, the countries that have these systems are far from free of problems, but they do seem to function better (see Patterns of Democracy by Arend Lijphart).

The time concepts feel a bit more abstract and is a bit where the film loses me. I see the benefit of the kind of long vision shaping our ability to relate, but it is taken to a purely supernatural kind of level (which is maybe a weird thing to critique in a film with aliens). Ultimately, this kind of acts as a very good linguistics lecture snuck through to the masses (well, to the degree that this film gets watched) by a slickly designed movie guise. And I couldn't be happier about that, I love interesting lectures.

Do you think the movie is about linguistics more than a lecture on how to live and experience life ?
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verbALs

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Re: Arrival
« Reply #12 on: November 19, 2016, 06:29:43 AM »
The "memories"....memory itself is emotionally potent.  It's an experience to have these memories presented in this form. If you aren't moved by that experience then that's fine but I relate this to Alain Resnais masterful repreentation of memory; it is that powerful. So to then have the assumption of memory challenged that these were future events completely alters the emphasis of these experiences. That they also have a new moral component shouldn't need explaining.

With a movie that presents ideas in a novel way it  wouldn't be a problem to view that experience in very many different ways precisely because Villeneuve's presentation is quite so experiential. For instance if you are a parent this story will affect differently from someone young and childless. Nothing to do with who got what and who's cleverer than who; frankly if someone came in here to work out their feelings I would find that a rewarding read. A lot more than aren't I clever why watch it again.

Nobody said they needed to watch it again to get it and this film deserves a better conversation.
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Bondo

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Re: Arrival
« Reply #13 on: November 19, 2016, 08:34:28 AM »
Do you think the movie is about linguistics more than a lecture on how to live and experience life ?

Yes, though it would be in keeping with who I am as a person to discount the emotional themes and focus on the intellectual ones. Maybe it is more that the linguistic points were novel to me more than "is it better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all" which is essentially what her choice boils down to. Is your greatest joy worth your greatest sorrow? To which I've always answered yes.

verbALs

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Re: Arrival
« Reply #14 on: November 26, 2016, 09:20:58 AM »
@1SO. That thought about a disease was an extrapolation. I agree it has nothing much to do with the film it isn't necessary. Actually it seems more likely than not that her exposure to the alien ship would affect her in some way. Maybe not even an infection but stray radiation that the aliens don't see as harmful. When films talk about space travel they rarely address the fact that exposure to solar radiation would be deadly and it's only the earths wierd magnetic fields that stops all life dying very quickly or the atmosphere blowing off into space. A theory about Mars has it that the planets iron core stopped spinning and the air and water were scorched off the planet. The Martian was a little loose with this problem. The aliens in Arrival made humans look quite delicate. All that mist and the way they swam through it suggested to me a gas planet like Jupiter which tend to be bigger with heavy gravity which equals big strong aliens.

Btw read the above as an example of how little Villeneuve revealed. He had no need to fill out the detail because he never made the film about these mysterious creatures which is skillful direction. He focuses on Louise and her understanding so he can make language most important as a theme rather than nerdy stuff like how spaceships hang in the air or how the aliens could manipulate gravity. What he shows is Louise interest not Renners physicist or the military guys.

One observation; humans are shown as quite intelligent even the military and even the Chinese. Their reactions threaten conflict but it's a logical progression. Whittakers colonel is the least bellicose senior officer I've seen in a movie that I can recall.
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St. Martin the Bald

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Re: Arrival
« Reply #15 on: November 26, 2016, 10:16:46 AM »
I didn't get that her daughter's disease was a direct result of Louise's interaction with the spaceship or the aliens. In fact, for me at least it didn't matter. Kids die of rare diseases every day. It was her smile and peaceful acceptance of her path  (both good and bad) that led to her cherishing every moment her kid was on this earth. As this realization was unfolding, the film went from science fiction to spiritual.
The fog and murky atmosphere of the aliens represented the idea of uncertainty, of being completely in the present, neither rooted in the mistakes of the past nor fretting about the challenges of the future. It's awareness in the moment. One can certainly lean in the present when the burdens of the future are already revealed. In fact, I believe it's purposefully not revealed if she could change her decisions or the future. Again - fog, murk, uncertainty. It doesn't matter. Her realizations around the language only become clear when she is face to face with the aliens in their murky, foggy uncertain atmosphere.
It's a comparison between the hard linear demands of science versus the soft, uncertainty of the spiritual (and here spiritual doesn't have to mean divine) there can be spiritual implications in nature - no god needed - just feeling the interconnectedness of life can be spiritual. Being in the Tao, in the flow.
For me at least - that was the big payoff. There can be a natural connection between those two worlds: science and the spiritual and also that words do matter, they matter so much that they can change how you interact with the universe.
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1SO

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Re: Arrival
« Reply #16 on: November 26, 2016, 11:23:19 AM »
@1SO. That thought about a disease was an extrapolation. I agree it has nothing much to do with the film it isn't necessary.
All true, but you now present the possibility, much like fan theories that are largely untrue but possible. This could be a story all its own. You could make a very effective drama about Louise's life with her family knowing what she knows. Maybe hoping to use her abilities to prevent the inevitable. I think that could all make for a good movie too, a different type of story that springs from this one.

Villeneuve told the story he wanted to tell and i think he made some great choices as to what Not to focus on. He strikes a balance between the best of Spielberg and the best of Malick. Those are two other directors that could've tackled this script, but they would've taken it further into their comfort zones at the expense of this better version we now have.

verbALs

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Re: Arrival
« Reply #17 on: November 26, 2016, 11:24:45 AM »
I like that interpretation St M
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don s.

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Re: Arrival
« Reply #18 on: November 26, 2016, 01:04:54 PM »
@1SO. That thought about a disease was an extrapolation. I agree it has nothing much to do with the film it isn't necessary.
All true, but you now present the possibility, much like fan theories that are largely untrue but possible. This could be a story all its own. You could make a very effective drama about Louise's life with her family knowing what she knows. Maybe hoping to use her abilities to prevent the inevitable.

I realize this is a side issue, but "use her abilities to prevent the inevitable" goes against what Amy Adams' character has learned about the nature of time. She wouldn't bother to try to prevent that which she knows is inevitable, because she now understands that linear time is an illusion.
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DarkeningHumour

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Re: Arrival
« Reply #19 on: November 29, 2016, 01:25:10 PM »
So am I the only one who thinks Adams' decision is unacceptable ?

(Assuming she indeed did have the power to change things, which I believe is the film's take.)
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