Friday, December 16, 2016

arriving at 'Arrival'

Having seen the movie 'Arrival,' I am left to wonder: ah, why was there not more wonder in the movie? Why was there not more 'ah'? They tried, but mostly missed the dazzling facial glows of 'Close Encounters.' They (the scriptwriters, producers) tried, too, to touch on the inevitable nexus between immanence and transcendence. But it is, in the end, a movie, a Hollywood one at that. I salute this much: despite the cliche of the threat of military intervention (I won't spoil the plot) and despite some other tropes, the production had some gravitas. 'Arrival' touched on our human yearning for connection, as well as our propensity to sever connection (e.g., kill, destroy, alienate). And 'Arrival' touched on language in a fresh way. As a wordsmith, I enjoyed that. It earnestly sought to be optimistic. I'll give it that. I did not dislike the movie. (Is that damning with faint praise?) It had more simplicity and less noise than most films like this. I confess to having experienced a chill run down my spine at some moments. So that's powerful, right? I will close by saying that the immanence and transcendence the movie sought to evoke is ineffable ultimately. (Is it not?) Which is why we have art and silence and poetry and image and dance and breathlessness and pulse and no-thing-ness.

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