On Monday, I got a chance to see The Arrival in an advanced screening. It is the best science fiction movie, I've seen since Moon. I really hope it does well, but sadly, I have a feeling that modern audiences who are used to being spoon fed dumbed-down plots, will not know how deal with a movie that makes them think.
I'm not sure how much I can say about the film without giving too much away. In The Arrival, twelve alien ships have landed at various points in the world. Amy Adams is a top linguist, charged by the US military with learning how to communicate with the aliens on the ship that landed in America. She is teamed with Jeremy Renner, a mathematician, who thinks that that the universal nature of science and physics is the key to communicating. Forest Whitaker is the Army colonel in charge of the project. There are good performances by all.
Since there are twelve ships in different locations, each government takes a slightly different approach to interacting with the aliens. At first the governments involved cooperate and share information, but become suspicious of what others might be learning from "their" aliens.
The Arrival has a twist ending that I don't even want to hint at. While the aliens are shown, these and the ship interior are pretty much the only special effects in the film. It's not about special effects. It's about the nature of communication. The film really makes you think and as such, it's one of the best new movies I've seen in a long time. Go see it. Just don't expect any running laser gun battles.