Weekender Bahrain, Monday, March 18 2019

When ‘words’ will subdue ‘wars’

admin 01-Dec-2016

When ‘words’ will subdue ‘wars’

Okay, I’ll just come out and say it- I’m a sucker for alien movies! Back when I was a little kid, I encountered on screen an outwardly creature called ‘E.T’ and ever since then, I knew the excitement, the curiosity and the sheer spectrum of mixed emotions that I felt (as these beings were either trying to escape Earth’s atmosphere or were destroying Earth’s inhabitants) were here to stay.
The science-fiction genre has definitely grown tenfold. Such movies now not only project larger than life action, but also express dialogues and expressions, that try to create a realistic balance between the fictional creatures and the human characters. The recently released ‘Arrival’ follows the trail set by other big projects like the recently released ‘Gravity’, ‘Interstellar’ and ‘The Martian’, as it tries to define human emotions into the most eccentric of settings. The film lies solely on the shoulders of actress ‘Amy Adams’ who plays the role of Louise: a dedicated linguistics expert brought in on the day that 12 unidentified flying objects enter Earth’s orbit, yes the spaceships have definitely upgraded from being horizontally rounded discs to vertically concaved shape. She joins hands with the military and scientists to know what these octopus-shaped beings want from humans. The main element of the movie that has been beautifully portrayed is the essence of language to understand others and maybe ourselves too. Eventually being termed as the ‘Heptapods’, they speak in sounds that echo like whale noises, but Louise quickly learns that written language is the way to communicate, even deciphering the complex way the interstellar tourists write. As she gets closer and closer to being able to convey that crucial question in a way that it (and its answer) will be understood, the world’s uneasiness continues and comes to the point on how long do we wait on the spoken clarity before the necessary actions take place?
Probably one of the best performances by Amy, the woman reflects the situation through her eyes as she tries to fight the demons of the outside while combating her inner ones. There is so much going on in her mind and heart, especially in the ending sequence, with which Adams could have gone expressively big, however the actress adapts a subtle tone, a risk when it comes to concluding a sci-fi movie but it actually works. Complimenting the acting skills is the cinematography. Again, it’s not what we’ll imagine as is usually the case with factory-produced alien flicks. Bradford Young’s approach is gorgeously tactile, using the natural world to make this unnatural story quite genuine. However the problem lies with the narration- the film tends to lag in the middle and once it moves towards the end, it quickly picks up pace. The heat is amiss as the characters start to get dull but thanks to the leading lady, we still manage to hold interest and the film ends with a mighty message: how often does it happen that fear takes over when communication breaks down and how often are we willing decipher the unspoken and learn to accept our differences, yet move forward in harmony?