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.
Comedy 1986 94 mins Director: Frank Oz
Frank Oz's vivid adaptation of the cult sci-fi musical, with Rick Moranis as a flower-shop assistant battling a 'Mean Green Mother from Outer Space'.
Science Fiction 2018 113 mins Director: Claire Denis
The messiness of sex, the mysteries of birth and the moving spectacle of devoted parenting in the face of impending oblivion create a potent atmosphere in Claire Denis’ English-language debut.
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.
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 1968 149 mins Director: Stanley Kubrick
Stanley Kubrick took science fiction cinema in a grandly intelligent new direction with this epic story of man’s quest for knowledge.
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.
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).
Comedy 2017 91 mins Director: Sophie Brooks
The captivating Zosia Mamet (Girls) takes centre-stage in this smart and sassy Manhattan-set relationship drama which channels the spirit of Nora Ephron.
Biopic 2017 107 mins Director: Marc Meyers
Marc Meyers' adaptation of Derf Backderf’s revered graphic novel is an unnerving teen horror-drama about the makings of a murderer.
Comedy 2019 118 mins Director: Gurinder Chadha
In 1987 during the austere days of Thatcher's Britain, a teenager learns to live life, understand his family and find his own voice through the music of Bruce Springsteen.
Documentary 2019 102 mins Director: Richard Lowenstein
Capturing his rise to super-stardom and subsequent tragic fall, Mystify gives remarkable insight into INXS lead singer Michael Hutchence and a truth he took to the grave.
Drama 2019 95 mins Director: José Celestino Campusano
A history of abuse is uncovered in this provocative and challenging coming-of-age drama from Argentina.
Drama 2017 82 mins Director: Deborah Haywood
Lyn (Joanna Scanlan) and Iona (Lily Newmark) are excited to be starting afresh in a new town, but trouble comes along when Iona becomes besties with the local mean girls.