4 stars

A very thoughtful alien invasion flick from the prolific Canadian director Denis Villeneuve, the film is as much a tense puzzle as the task our protagonist is assigned: Communicate with the aliens who have just plopped 12 bean-shaped ships in locations all over the world. No pressure, people are rioting and the Chinese are getting itchy trigger fingers, but, you know, take your time. Amy Adams is great as Louise, the linguist dealing with her own trauma when she is suddenly seconded by a military colonel to get a conversation going with the mysterious newcomers. While the movie is dominated by Adams’ nuanced performance, we also get Jeremy Renner playing staid physicist Ian, also plucked from academia to work on the high stakes project. Renner and Adams and director Villeneuve are able to keep the movie compelling without resorting to intense disaster movie tropes, which is a lovely change of pace. Overall a highly recommended movie.


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