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.
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.
When the Wind Blows
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.
Horror 2016 98 mins Director: Amat Escalante
Amat Escalante follows Heli with a boundary-pushing, mind-blowing mix of sex, sci-fi and social drama.
Science Fiction 1997 84 mins Director: Darren Aronofsky
Darren Aronofsky’s magisterial monochrome mystery concerns a mathematician whose discovery of a powerful number leads to the dark side.
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.
A Quiet Passion
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.
I Am Not Your Negro
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.
The Eagle Huntress
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).
The Hurt Locker
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).
Drama 2016 106 mins Director: Gurinder Chadha
Gurinder Chadha channels David Lean for this sweeping romance set during the last days of the Raj, with Hugh Bonneville and Gillian Anderson as Lord and Lady Mountbatten.
Romance 2018 92 mins Director: Vicente Alves Do Ó
The simmering sexual tensions of a group of old friends come to the boil in this sizzling psychological drama, which playfully evokes the spirit of François Ozon.
Sorry to Bother You
Comedy 2018 111 mins Director: Boots Riley
A mild-mannered call centre operator whizzes up the corporate ladder after he discovers a unique ability to adopt a "white voice" in writer-director Boots Riley's breathlessly inventive satire.
Heat and Dust
Drama 1983 130 mins Director: James Ivory
Julie Christie and Greta Scacchi star in this sensual and evocative Merchant Ivory classic, adapted by Ruth Prawer Jhabvala from her Booker Prize-winning novel.
Drama 1963 105 mins Director: Clive Donner
Clive Donner directs this classic adaptation of the Harold Pinter play, with Alan Bates, Donald Pleasence and Robert Shaw.
Romance 1965 122 mins Director: James Ivory
When a young British actress from a touring troupe falls in love with an Indian playboy, the star-crossed lovers must overcome cultural differences and the scheming of a fierce rival.