'Arrival' starts off with a downbeat short film on the life of its protagonist , Louise, a linguistics professor. She is callled upon to interpret the language of the aliens who just arrived in the wide open spaces of Montana.

The movie has two important themes, language and time. In the first few minutes we are told that 'Language is a weapon' and a brief on the Sopir-Whorf hypothesis on how learning a language can re-wire the thinking process to affect the behavior modes and the underlying culture as well.

Thus, the first challenge of how to learn an alien language is set. I was thinking of how learning a language like English changes the perception of the world around oneself and the behavior modes of people. We see that all the time in Tamil cinema. The brother starts talking in English and the entire village is amazed. That is a little crude way of saying it but it also conveys the essential relation between the language and culture.

However, the process in the movie is set in a very personal mode. Louise takes it upon herself to identify mode of conveying what she thinks and getting a response and interpreting it. The tragedy in her life pops up all through the episode with no visible explanation on her mental state. However, there is this brilliant explanation of the construct of a simple question she uses to illustrate the complexity of the language we take for granted.

The movie does not goes into lengths in explaining the proceedings and most of the story has to be constructed in the back and forth of the movement.

That brings the other part of the equation - Time. Time plays a crucial role and there are hints dropped all along the movie in pieces to understand what is going on and the crisp little conversations in Louise life gives hints. The palindrome name of the daughter, the questioning about the father offer some helpful hints. But the unraveling at the end is quite fast to miss out on how it ends.

Non-linear time, in itself, offers possibilities which are just mind-boggling to think of. And being the center part of the gigantic Alien world, the clues of re-wiring the human civilization through the construct of the language offers other ways of looking at traveling through time.

The movie takes a more personal tone than a 'normal' Hollywood bombastic tone which adds to the involvement in the movie itself. There are scenes - the hepta-pods, the first sensory experience of an alien craft - are all taken very sensibly without resorting to heavy dose of science but relying on a child-like experience to bring home the point.

Overall, a brilliant movie crafted with layers of science and emotions built into it . Must-watch.

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