"Arrival" starts as the usual " Aliens have landed; what are their intentions? "and develops into some kind of a mystery.
It is not a big blockbuster, an all action movie, but a more cerebral and emotional experience with some good premises but not quite reaching the mark in execution.
Much of the tension comes from efforts to communicate with the aliens , who suddenly appear in 12 giant vessels, scattered across the globe, emitting indecipherable sounds to state their purpose.
To help with that the U.S. government enlists Louise (Amy Adams), a linguistics professor, along with a theoretical physicist, Ian (Jeremy Renner). Their investigation unfolds as panic grows over the aliens' motivations and other countries become nervous about the hovering ships in their backyards whilst the military becomes increasingly belligerant and China threatens the initial call for a coordinated and harmonious international response ( nothing new there).
Louise's personal story in the background challenges expectations and takes the audience in a tour-de-force of time travelling and emotions.