Get your reviews and insights on everything to do with movies and TV, locally and internationally.

Oscar Best Picture Review: The Arrival

Written by tha - bang from the blog Movies and Things with Thabang on 31 Jan 2017
Favourite this post

In my humble opinion The Arrival is the dark horse of all the movies that have been nominated for Best Picture for the 2017 Oscars. Why do I say that? Well let's dig in...

One of the greatest things about The Arrival is that it is a science fiction film of the same scale as the big sci-fi movies of yester-years such as 2001, Blade Runner and even Minority Report.

Yet it has the intimacy and character development of great indie Sci-Fi's like Moon, Donnie Darko and the low key human drama of indie film greats such as Hunt for Wilderpeople, Pieces of April and the likes.

This blend of high concept, high budget with down-to-earth storytelling and simplicity makes The Arrival a unique project in the world of Marvel Cinematic Universe-era movie making. For the joy, the surprise and feats of wonder in The Arrival are not from the visual effects or the tricky camera work but in how the story is told and what the story is about as experienced by the characters.

In an age where the US is run by Donald Trump, where the far right and Neo-Nazi parties are gaining strength in Europe, where the message of isolation, keeping migrants out and making one's country great are so prominent, The Arrival goes against all those ideals. 

The Arrival like the original Star Trek series and uses the sci-fi genre and tropes to deal with real world issues in a fantastical way - in this case, using issues that arise due to first contact with an alien species as a metaphor for our own limitations in corporations and working as a unit. The film deciphers world problems and offers solutions.

The Aliens become an embodiment of man's fear, man's way of othering and dehumanising the next person because they either look different from them, speak a different language from them or have a different culture from them. The Arrival reminds us that the greatest strength humans have is when we work together instead of giving in to our fears.

This lesson is taught in a master class of how to play with structure, storytelling and flashbacks but Denis Villeneuve never loses sight that the story structure parts are nothing without emotional connection from the actors.

With The Arrrival, Denis Villenueve proves that he is one of the best directors working in Hollywood currently. He showed promise with Prisoners and Sicario and The Arrival sees him flying - I can't wait for his Blade Runner 2049 movie later this year.

Poor Amy Adams was robbed of a nomination - she put her heart and acting muscles into this movie but the Academy totally overlooked her. This is one of the biggest snubs of the 2017 Oscars. On the bright side, I believe that the Best Adapted Screenplay must go to The Arrival.

As far as winning Best Picture is concerned, The Arrival has all the ingredients to win. The question is, will the crowd favourite eclipse this great executed film? We shall only know in February.

* utter crap ** ja nee *** could have been better ****almost perfect ***** Classic

Actors in this post: Amy Adams


01 Feb 2017 00:57

I really want to see this film thanks to all these glowing reviews but am unsure if there are any strong characters of colour in the film. I see Forest is the film- does he make a Rogue One-like appearance in this film?

01 Feb 2017 11:07

Thanks for the great review - look forward to seeing your views on the others. Yes the message inherent in Arrival is so pertinent to what's going on politically now - that fear is the driving force.Still waiting to see Hidden Figures and Moonlight. Thus far my faves are Lion / Manchester by the Sea. 

06 Feb 2017 13:02

Great review as always Tha-Bang. After reading our review, I also wanna go and check it out

Only TVSA members can reply to this thread. Click here to login or register.


New on TV today: Saturday 15 August

Superstore returns to with an Olmypics special and HISTORY documents WWII's Most Daring Raids.

The Queen Teasers - September 2020

The Khoza's make their big move!

Gebroke Harte 3 Teasers - September 2020

Ozan and Dilara disappear...

The River 2 on Mzansi Magic Teasers - September 2020

New season alert! Tumi and Lindiwe have their respective families in turmoil.

The River 1 on Mzansi Magic Teasers - September 2020

Season 1 finale! Shots fired...literally and figuratively!

Vierspel Vuurspel Teasers - September 2020

Prison, kidnapping and lots of plotting with the two mafia kings.

Top Shows on TV: July 2020

The dust has settled on Lockdown mayhem and Uyajola 9/9 is officially the No.1 show on DStv while Bittersoet makes a mark for e.

New on TV today: Friday 14 August

Teenage Bounty Hunters is one of four new shows on Netflix, as SABC2 gives Verified a run.

Filmmaking competish offers R50,000 documentary budget as first prize

It's Opportunities Day on TVSA. There may be a pandemic but there are still opportunities afoot.

Comic Con Africa calls for artists for 2020 hoodie design challenge

How to get your fan art onto a limited edition Puma hoodie.


More activity at TVSA Central



Thabang Phetla loves movies,
he loves TV...
he loves his writing...
if you love movies and tv
you will definitely love
his writing on movies and TV.
signed by Thabang's Mom

10-Day Clean Eating Challenge


You browser doesn't have Flash, Silverlight, Gears, BrowserPlus or HTML5 support.