Canadian director Denis Villeneuve’s (Sicario, Prisoners, Incendies) versatile and prolific creative streak continues with Arrival, an emotionally arresting, visually inventive science fiction based on the award-winning Story of Your Life by Ted Chiang. Professor of linguistics Dr Louise Banks (Amy Adams) is enlisted by the US government to decipher the language of extra-terrestrials who initiated first contact. She is accompanied by scientist Ian Donelly (Jeremy Renner) on a mission to determine the purpose of their mysterious visitation. As the military manoeuvres around the operation become increasingly fraught, the two outsiders are drawn together in their search for understanding in this tense and emotional sci-fi drama.
The story is underpinned by an extremely resonant interest in the importance of translation, not only the direct challenge of decoding this new language, but also in the forging of international cooperation between countries to prevent conflict. A universe away from traditional alien invasion films, Arrival is ultimately a cinematic paean to human life – its intimacy, complexity and grandeur, and to what keeps us connected to each other – communication, memory, and the experience of love and loss.
Crime 1971 137 mins Director: Stanley Kubrick
Malcolm McDowell stars in Kubrick’s chilling, thrilling and unsettling cinematic vision of nihilistic violence and social control.
Science Fiction 1999 136 mins Director: Larry Wachowski
Hacker Neo (Keanu Reeves) is drawn into a burgeoning underground rebellion against the machines that enslave humanity, in the hugely influential action sci-fi.
Science Fiction 2013 126 mins Director: Bong Joon-ho
After a global catastrophe launches the world into a new ice age, the last of humanity are trapped on a high-speed train that circles the globe infinitely.
Science Fiction 1955 93 mins Director: Ken Hughes
A high-octane tale of atomic-era espionage on the rain-spattered streets of 1950s London.
Horror 2017 112 mins Director: Aaron Moorhead
Two brothers who escaped a cult are drawn back in by a mysterious message… Acclaimed directors Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead (Spring) return with another hybrid piece of raging intensity.
Animation & Artists Moving Image 1986 84 mins Director: Jimmy Teru Murakami
A middle-aged couple prepare for nuclear war in this humorous and macabre cautionary tale, adapted by Raymond Briggs (The Snowman) from his best-selling book.
Best Films of 2017
Drama 2016 119 mins Director: Matt Ross
Viggo Mortensen plays the father-gone-primitive in this wonderful award-winning comedy about an off-grid family.
Drama 2016 141 mins Director: Edgardo Castro
A gritty journey through the sexual underbelly of Buenos Aires, with graphic depictions of the highs and lows in one man’s quest for intimacy.
Biopic 2016 125 mins Director: Terence Davies
Terence Davies' elegant and deeply moving biopic of poet Emily Dickinson, played with sensitivity and rebellious spirit by Cynthia Nixon.
Documentary 2016 94 mins Director: Raoul Peck
Raoul Peck’s penetrating and acclaimed documentary reconstructs an unfinished manuscript by James Baldwin, chronicler of America’s Civil Rights Movement.
Documentary 2016 85 mins Director: David Lachapelle
The rise, fall and rise again of the bad boy of ballet, Ukrainian prodigy Sergei Polunin is captured in this swirling doc with a rocking soundtrack.
Documentary 2016 88 mins Director: Otto Bell
Daisy Ridley narrates this inspiring documentary about a girl who causes a stir in her tribe in Mongolia by embracing the traditionally male role of Eagle Hunter.
Featuring Jeremy Renner
Drama 2013 117 mins Director: James Gray
Marion Cotillard plays a Polish immigrant struggling to survive in 1920s New York, in this acclaimed drama from James Gray (We Own the Night).
War 2008 131 mins Director: Kathryn Bigelow
Kathryn Bigelow won the Best Director Academy Award in 2010 for this visceral, thrilling story of an American maverick bomb disarmer in Iraq.
Directed by Denis Villeneuve
Crime 2015 121 mins Director: Denis Villeneuve
Emily Blunt plays the FBI agent enlisted for a special operation against Mexican cartels, in this pulsatingly tense thriller from Denis Villeneuve (Arrival, Prisoners).
Documentary 2019 95 mins Director: Penny Lane
An unexpectedly funny, charming and thought-provoking documentary about a group who celebrate difference, and challenge the link between religion and state in the US.
Comedy 1954 90 mins Director: Carol Reed
The adventures of a young boy who buys a small goat in the belief that it’s a unicorn that will be able to grant the wishes of him and his friends.
Thriller 2018 88 mins Director: Isabella Eklöf
A lavish trip to the Turkish Riviera goes horribly awry in this disturbing tale of power, exploitation and complicity from the writer of Border.
Drama 2018 99 mins Director: William Buckhurst
Rumours of a monster carp inspire an unlikely fishing expedition in an ex-mining village, in this first feature from acclaimed theatre director Bill Buckhurst, with a fantastic original score by Richard Hawley.
Drama 2018 109 mins Director: Justin Kelly
Kristen Stewart and Laura Dern's towering tall story hoaxes the world.
Crime 2018 159 mins Director: S. Craig Zahler
As brutal and uncompromising as its title would suggest, the third feature from S. Craig Zahler (Bone Tomahawk, Brawl in Cell Block 99) is another instant classic crime drama.