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 1987 72 mins Director: Peter Wollen
Tilda Swinton plays an extra-terrestrial android discussing life’s big questions with a British war correspondent in this unique sci-fi by influential film theorist Peter Wollen.
Science Fiction 2019 102 mins Director: Justin Benson
Anthony Mackie and Jamie Dornan star as a pair of New Orleans paramedics who encounter a series of bizarre deaths linked to a new designer drug with otherworldly effects.
Thriller 2019 104 mins Director: Brandon Cronenberg
In the near future, a cool and ruthless assassin who uses other people’s bodies to carry out execution-style killings comes unstuck when her latest vehicle resists.
Documentary 2019 92 mins Director: Damon Gameau
Award-winning director Damon Gameau embarks on a journey to explore what the future could look like if we embraced the best solutions to improve our planet.
Science Fiction 2019 98 mins Director: Lorcan Finnegan
Imogen Poots and Jesse Eisenberg play a pair of first-time buyers who get more than they bargained for in this twisted fable about the horrors of suburban living.
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.
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 100 mins Director: Ken Loach
Ken Loach’s powerful, Palme d’Or-winning invective against welfare injustice captured the mood of modern Britain and became his biggest box office success.
Thriller 2016 112 mins Director: Tate Taylor
Emily Blunt stars in the adaptation of the best-seller about a divorcee who entangles herself in the investigation of a missing young woman.
Comedy 2016 162 mins Director: Maren Ade
A lonely prankster upends the life of his high-powered daughter in a riotous comedy, deep and sharp.
Drama 2016 137 mins Director: Kenneth Lonergan
Casey Affleck and Michelle Williams shine in this devastating, Oscar-winning drama from Kenneth Lonergan about a man’s painful hometown return.
Drama 2016 87 mins Director: Peter Mackie Burns
Emily Beecham stars in a powerful character study about a 31-year-old chef who's drifting through her London life, until she witnesses a shocking event…
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).
Drama 2020 103 mins Director: Zaida Bergroth
A lyrical and romantic biopic of the beloved creator of the Moomins featuring an incredible central performance by Alma Pöysti.
Musical 1998 77 mins Director: Julian Henriques
Neeta and her crew rise to dancehall fame in North West London's Caribbean community, in the first Black British musical.
Fantasy 2020 93 mins Director: Philippe Lacôte
To stay alive in an infamous Ivory Coast prison, a young man begins to narrate the mystical life of a legendary outlaw in this spectacular tale of survival and beautiful ode to the power of storytelling.
Comedy 2020 97 mins Director: Piotr Domalewski
Darkly comic Polish drama about a young woman who goes on a voyage of self-discovery in Ireland after her father unexpectedly passes away.
Drama 2019 91 mins Director: Filippo Meneghetti
The love between two older women is threatened by illness and secrecy in a moving French drama that features Barbara Sukowa at her very best.
Action and Adventure 2019 105 mins Director: Stephen Maxwell Johnson
A young Indigenous man teams up with a policeman to track down a warrior outlaw in this piercing exploration of justice and morality within the Australian settlement.