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'Arrival': A Hollywood Rarity

Arrival the movie
Amy Adams stars as Linguistics professor Louise Banks in "Arrival."


Arrival is not your typical alien invasion movie. The film contains no space travel, no battles between humanity and extraterrestrial life, and no secret super weapon that could be used against one another. Instead, it’s all about one crucial tool: language.

Arrival has been doing remarkably well despite its modest budget, initial distribution and thoughtful subject matter.

"[Arrival] is that rarity in Hollywood these days of a movie that really makes you think about things and a movie that is worth talking about - hence the word-of-mouth spread of attention this movie has gotten," says film contributor and Arts and Entertainment editor for the Shepherd Express, Dave Luhrssen.

"It certainly is the most interesting, and I'll say for me, the best science fiction movie in quite some time," he adds.

Based on the short story Story of Your Life by Ted Chiang, the film does well in adapting the written story, Luhrssen says. "I think that the movie did many things very well including the excitement and the tension, the uncertainty," he says.

However, one weakness Luhrssen sites in the film is the flat secondary characters. "I do think the film would have benefited by a more dynamic secondary cast, including better written characterizations for them," he says.

Despite the weakness of secondary characters or some of the pacing in the film, Luhrssen notes Amy Adams' performance was noteworthy, and the film itself does a great job in taking a complicated subject and making it engaging and understandable for large audiences.

"It's a challenging topic to undertake and I certainly take my hat off to all the people who were engaged in this," he says.

Audrey is a producer, host and reporter for Lake Effect. She is involved with every aspect of the show — from conducting interviews, editing audio, posting web stories and mixing the show together.
David Luhrssen is arts and entertainment editor of the Shepherd Express, co-founder of the Milwaukee International Film Festival and co-author of A Time of Paradox: America Since 1890. He is the winner of the Pace Setter Award for contributions to Milwaukee's film community from the Milwaukee Independent Film Society. David Luhrssen has taught at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design and Milwaukee Area Technical College.