Arrival arrived at the Venice Film Festival in 2016 to make its debut. Arrival is also Villeneuve’s first film to gross over $200 million at the box office. Based on the 1998 short story, “Story of Your Life,” Arrival follows Louise Banks (Amy Adams) when she is called to help after an alien invasion occurs across the world. Banks is called, as a language expert, to help decode the language of the alien beings at a specific site in Montana. Throughout the film, Banks must decipher signals given by the aliens on the glass of the partition of the spaceship.
The audience also is shown flashes of Banks’ daughter throughout the movie, we but are never sure of the timeline. It is revealed in the end that what we are seeing is actually the future, and the goal of the aliens is enlist the help of Earth to save both civilizations. Their tool is time. They have advanced technology that allows them to see the future and try to avoid war. Arrival may be the best script Villeneuve had to work with. It is beautiful to look at and beautiful to listen to.
Arrival is streaming on Hulu.
My score: 8.9/10
4. Blade Runner
Blade Runner 2049 debuted in 2017 and is a follow-up to the original Blade Runner of 1982. A dystopian, futuristic society, Blade Runner 2049 takes place in future Los Angeles. The story follows K (Ryan Gosling) a ‘replicant’ tasked with ‘retiring’ obsolete replicant models. Replicants are bio-engineered humans, and in the year 2049, slaves.
The story to me, is really a story about K finding his own identity. In the future, culture isn’t divided by class or race. It is divided by human or non-born human. It’s hard to find a more compelling story coupled with a more gorgeous movie to look at. Harrison Ford is even brought back to reprise his role of Rick Deckard. Much like the first Blade Runner, Blade Runner 2049 uses intentional imagery to help the audience understand the importance of human connection. K has implanted memories of hiding a wooden horse and later finds the horse in the same place his implanted memory told him he left it. In the original, an origami unicorn is used as the same plot device, suggesting Deckard may also be a replicant.
I was able to see Blade Runner 2049 in theaters when it released and was awe-struck by the magnitude of the world. This put Villeneuve is the conversation to be the ‘leading guy’ to direct the movie ‘epic.’
Blade Runner 2049 is streaming on HBO Max.
My score: 9.1/10