Like a group of silent, monolithic, clamshell-shaped intergalactic vessels, Arrival will make an unexpected appearance later this week. Denis Villeneuve’s high-concept sci-fi picture has had a cracking week already, scoring a whopping eight Oscar nominations during yesterday’s announcement, including key nods for Best Picture and Best Director. A little Oscar love can be a huge windfall for a film, drawing new viewers to cineplexes and upping box-office totals, but the trouble is that in most markets, Arrival has already left the rotation. So in an effort to capitalize on the recent bump in the film’s public profile, Paramount will send the film back from whence it came, returning to nationwide theaters for a limited run on Friday, January 27.
Even if you’ve already gotten in a viewing of the film, Paramount’s sweetened the deal a little further in an effort to get repeat customers; the re-release will include eight minutes of bonus footage, which Paramount’s press release teases as “thought-provoking commentary and a behind-the-scenes look” at Villeneuve’s process, complete with talking-head segments from the cast and crew. (Think of it as one big For Your Consideration ad.) Though Amy Adams was shut out of the Best Actress category for portraying Arrival’s heroine, linguist Louise Banks, the film stands to collect a lot of gold in the technical categories, and this gambit could put them over the edge.
Arrival tracks Banks’ efforts to establish contact and communication with a group of mysterious alien visitors, tossing off philosophical meditations on time, language, memory, and loss like fistfuls of bread crumbs all along the way. It’s certainly worth a look this weekend, for the simple reason that it’s great, if not for Oscar preparations.