In the video Arrival: A Response to Bad Movies, Youtube user Nerdwriter1 analyzes three concepts: truth vs. lies, future vs. past, and communication vs. perspective. The film connects these three points with its own non-linear structure. The film Arrival can be viewed and constructed as a call and response. Nerdwriter1 explains that understanding the film through the use of the Kuleshov effect, one can further understand the film’s structure. In the first run of the film, one will be a bit confused as to why the characters respond a certain way or why a plot unfolds as it does. Here, the film posits the viewer to use the Kuleshov as a guide to understanding the film. Instead of using montage editing at the shot level, the film uses this type of editing through the juxtaposition of two scenes. By doing this, the viewer responds to the previous scene with a different reaction. One scene shows the birth and loss of the main character. Another scene shows her going back to work. The viewer can then react to her lack of energy as to the loss of her child. In exploring the three earlier points, such scenes begin to make more sense by the end of the film.
The video communicates this idea of truth and lies through voiceover. The user says a quote about Stephen Fry, stating “a true thing, poorly expressed is a lie.” Here, the video expresses a truth in comparison to the dialogue of the film which states a lie, a lie that the main character tells herself until she can finally accept this truth. This intricate juxtaposition informs the reader the manner in which the film juxtaposes these two ideas of truth and dishonesty. In a way, as the viewer eventually figures out through the film’s ending, the first scene of the baby dying took place in the past. The second scene acts as the true beginning of the film. Therefore, the film’s structuring of its plot hides the truth until the end. The viewer accepts this lie unknowingly and then constructs a perceived response to the juxtaposition of these two scenes. The scene breaks down other scenes and compares them together to expose the hidden truth. One then begins to realize a pattern within the film.
This pattern holds the future and the past as part of its structure. The more one watches the film with attention, the more one realizes how similar events occur in both the future and past. For instance, the video displays two scenes in which two groups at different times are distressed. This further indicates how the film has laid out its language for the viewer to use to understand the structure of the film. The video expresses this point in several ways. Through the dialogue of the film, the video showcases the need for language for humans to understand the arrival of the aliens. In this same way, the reader needs to discover the hidden language of the film’s structure to understand such parallels. The film expresses the necessity for language through the graphics and text. In transition points, the video uses a word and masks it through a character. This manner then suggests the same way that the film masks its language through its future and past.
Moreover, the theme of langue fits into the comparison between communication and perspective. The scenes of the film work this way as well. For instance, the first scene of the baby’s birth and death suggests the way the film tries to communicate to the viewer the scene’s significance later on the story. At the end of the film, a similar shot of the birth of a baby expresses this cyclical approach to the way the film structures itself. It is then at the end of the film that the viewer has this perspective. In watching the film once more, the elements that the film tried to communicate in the first watch appear more obvious. Everything makes more sense. The video echoes this same sentiment of the amount of control the film has over itself. The video uses Andrei Tarkovsky’s quote saying that “no other art form is able to fix time as cinema does” as a means of underscoring the way the film uses time to expand elements within the film. In other words, film as the capacity of expanding time or shortening time; it is only when one becomes aware of this doing that one can understand the underlying motivations.