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Denis Villenueve

"Denis Villenueve’s venture into the sci-fi genre does not succeed in its originality. It is not the first sci-fi film to balance head and heart carefully, nor the first to use the otherworldliness of the genre as a delivery system for achingly human messages. Arrival succeeds not in its ambition, but instead in its confidence. A muted color palette, a discordant, experimental soundtrack, and a reserved lead performance, the film’s breath of fresh air comes not from broadcasting its risks, but from building the film around them. Arrival embraces its atypicality in the genre with poise and grace, and as a result, it feels relaxed and calculated despite the urgency and chaotic nature of its alien invasion drama."

-JMZ (118 minutes/118 words)

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