by Tony Medley
Runtime 116 minutes.
OK for children.
Every once in a while
film comes along that is well acted, well written, well directed, and
beautifully photographed, but defies credibility and comprehension.
Thatís why God created sci-fi. And that describes this film perfectly.
Check your desire for reason and common sense at the door.
In this film directed
by Denis Villeneuve from a screenplay by Eric Heisserer based on a short
story, ďStory of Your LifeĒ by Ted Chiang, Louise Banks (Amy Adams) is a
world renowned linguist who is retained by the US government to
investigate one of 12 huge spaceships that has landed in Montana.
While the short story
and the film are about language, the language of the aliens seems to be
just guttural noises, so Louise decides to try to communicate with them
through writings. This is where the film becomes pure science fiction
with the emphasis on ďfiction,Ē because thereís no way anybody could
interpret what the aliens put out there as their written language and
this is the filmís biggest flaw.
This is also one of
what seems to be an unending number of films that pictures the aliens
who have been able to conquer time and space as reptilian, almost monster-like with
webs for hands that donít look like they could ever hold anything, like
a screwdriver, to build their huge spaceship.
I have no idea what
the creatures out there beyond Alpha Centauri and in other solar systems
in our galaxy and the over one billion other galaxies look like, but Iím
willing to bet a dollar to a donut that if they are able to conquer time
and space to travel to our planet, they donít look anything like the
lizardy monsters Hollywood moviemakers make them out to be. In fact, I
bet they look a lot more like Michael Rennie in The Day the Earth
Stood Still (1951).
But, as I said, this
is sci-fi so you leave all your disbelief outside the theater and donít
ask too many questions. Adams does a fine job as the harried linguist
and thereís even a touching mother daughter story to add to the mix.
Throw in all this and
add some time warping and there is enough incomprehensibility to give
you The Day the Earth Stood Still Meets Last Year at Marienbad.
Despite the fact that itís utter nonsense, you donít have to completely
follow or accept what happens to enjoy it.