The Arrival

In this film, one of the characters -a scientist studying atmospheric phenomenons played by Linsay Crouse- brings up an insane but not that far-fetched theory: what if we should be worrying about global warming? Not only because it could lead to countless meteorological catastrophes, but because it might even lead to the annihilation of the human race (hey, it happened to those dinosaur dudes). But wait, “The Arrival’s plot is even creepier: it supposes that global warming is actually part of the plan to take over the world of a huge conspiracy. Or so thinks Zane Zaminski (Charlie Sheen, very convincing), a bright astronomer who dedicated his existence to proving that we’re not alone in this great big universe. Yet most people dismiss him as a paranoid nut, even his boss at NASA (Ron Silver) and his girlfriend (Teri Polo). And then it happens : he picks up a radio signal emitting from outer-space. To him this is it, the discovery of the century. But strangely, everything goes wrong and he finds himself without a job and on his own. And that’s just the beginning of the dangerous investigation he’s about to take on, which will take him to Mexico and beyond…

“The Arrival” is a very entertaing conspiracy thriller full of surprises, the biggest being its intelligence. It might have been inspired by the X-Files TV series, but it has its own flavor and it’s actually better than the X-Files movie. The film was written and directed by David Twohy, who shows great potential at crafting smart and gripping films. The movie benefits from good writing and production values, superior to most entries of the genre. Unfortunately, there are a few incongruities in the script, and Twohy’s approach is sometimes manipulative. What I mean is that sometimes the threats Sheen is faced to seem too big and intricate, while at others he achieves to get away from them easily, all because the plot asks for it. Hence, I sometimes felt cheated, but it doesn’t take away the impact of the movie. Some scenes are truly inspired, and there are much eye-popping sights : the opening is simply breath-taking, and the film remains impressive until the very end. And at least it follows the tradition of idea-based science-fiction set up by classics like “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” instead of that of crass SFX flicks like “Independence Day”.