Hailed as one of 2016's most triumphant movie achievements, Arrival is still showing in Cineworld – but it won't hang around forever. If you haven't yet witnessed this new sci-fi classic (or you simply can't wait to see it again), let us explain why you need to book right now.
It places brains above brawn
Science fiction is often a genre dragged into explosions and militaristic jingo – but not so with Arrival. It's time to put your preconceptions at the door and experience this sensitive story of linguist Louise Banks (Adams) who, reeling from tragedy in her life, is enlisted by the Army to communicate with an alien species recently arrived on Earth, their 12 ships having landed at strategic places around the globe. Placing character and an exploration of language above the usual melodramatic cliches, it's the sci-fi movie you weren't expecting.
Amy Adams is stunning
This kind of goes without saying – after all the wonderfully versatile Amy has already proven she can do anything from the comedy of Enchanted to the gritty urban dramatics of The Fighter to the slippery psychological mind games of the recent Nocturnal Animals. However even amidst all this wonderful work, her performance in Arrival is something special.
With the entire drama shot through her character's eyes, grounding a fantastical concept in something resolutely human and down to Earth, the movie puts great expectations on Amy's shoulders and she delivers with a beautifully sincere, subtle performance devoid of histrionics. It's largely down to her that the film works as well as it does.
Director Denis Villeneuve delivers again
Having established himself as a master of moody, engrossing atmosphere in the likes of kidnap drama Prisoners and drug cartel thriller Sicario, it's little wonder that Villeneuve is regarded as one of the greatest filmmakers to have emerged in recent years.
Arrival combines his penchant for both stunning visuals and engrossing characters seen in his previous films, unravelling at a steady pace that allows us a chance to breath and drink in the world of the movie. There are no fast edits here where you're struggling to see what's going on; this is science fiction done with maximum respect for the audience, and which rewards those able to keep up with the story's twists (and trust us, there are some great ones).
There's an excellent supporting cast
It's always the mark of a great movie when the background players are as intriguing and watchable as the main ones. Supporting Adams is Avengers star Jeremy Renner as scientist Ian, another actor who resists the temptation to play things over-the-top but who injects some much-needed humour, particularly his first deadpan reaction to venturing inside the alien ship. Ian's relationship with Louise becomes vital to the storyline – but we couldn't possibly reveal why.
Also on hand is Last King of Scotland Oscar-winner Forrest Whitaker as no-nonsense Army Colonel Weber, a man who has to put his own sense of wonder aside to prioritise his sense of duty: do the visitors pose a threat or do they come in peace? Whitaker's typically commanding presence makes him ideal for the character.
There are sights that will take your breath away
The dramatic events may unfold from Louise's point of view but take it from us, the sense of scale conveyed by Villeneuve is truly awe-inspiring, particularly the initial exterior shots of the alien ships that convey a sense of otherwordly scale unmatched in recent sci-fi cinema (abetted by Johan Johansson's eerie score).
Honouring the spirit of cerebral classics like Close Encounters, Villeneuve's film is truly a treat for the brain and the eyes – and the inverted gravity moment when we're first taken inside the alien craft is surely one of the greatest movie moments this year.