“Arrival” (2016) is an unusually smart and thought-provoking science fiction film. It isn’t really intended by its creators as a “twist movie,” but it does include an unexpected component that should surprise and challenge the viewer. (I don’t want to say more about it, for fear of spoilers.)
Amy Adams actually is a terrific actress, and she seems to do well in understated roles that require her to be thoughtful and deliberate. (Jeremy Renner and Forest Whitaker are both quite good too, even if they seem confined to roles here that don’t require much range.)
One caveat — this isn’t a standard science fiction thriller. (Although “Arrival” has some decent suspense, I’m inclined to think that this shouldn’t be considered a thriller at all.) I do think that viewers expecting a more mainstream film will be disappointed with this story conclusion’s more subdued and unconventional payoff. (Again, I just can’t say more here.)
I’d rate this an 8 out of 10; and I would recommend it to science fiction fans.