Arrival (Denis Villeneuve, 2016)

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TheDudeAbides
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Re: Arrival (Denis Villeneuve, 2016)

#26 Post by TheDudeAbides » Thu Nov 17, 2016 4:10 pm

Saw this film the other night. I thought it was a really strong output from Villeneuve and potentially his best work. I too had issues with the third act in Sicario and thought I would here as well given the commercials that talk about a "shocking ending", but I actually thought the ending was great and really tied the whole existentialist theme together. Although I did think the ending had some pacing issues and potentially was paradoxical but I tried to not focus on that element.

This was a great film, potentially the best new film I've seen this year. It felt like Terrence Malick and 2001: A Space Odyssey had a love child.

I really liked Enemy, Polytechnique, Prisoners and Sicario but I think this is Villeneuve's strongest work

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Re: Arrival (Denis Villeneuve, 2016)

#27 Post by mfunk9786 » Thu Nov 17, 2016 5:21 pm

Sicario discussion moved to... well kiss my grits!... The Sicario thread!

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Re: Arrival (Denis Villeneuve, 2016)

#28 Post by DarkImbecile » Sat Nov 19, 2016 5:53 pm

LQ wrote:
Magic Hate Ball wrote:God, what a flawless movie.
Agreed. I was entirely bowled over by this film, from the heady and beautiful concepts structuring the film's foundation, to the elegant way form and content are interwoven so that each heightens and complements the other - and then of course by the human element, god bless Amy Adams. Arrival is such a generous and heartfelt ode to the best elements of humanity, and while not its intention, it has special relevance in this current moment of immense division and ugliness. Art is truly salve for the soul, and this couldn't have come out at a better time.
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While watching, I was initially disappointed with what I took to be flashbacks to the daughter - a movie so otherwise unusual and smart, just pulling a retread of Gravity 's dead-kid backstory as humanizing driver? But all along, Villeneuve has been using the language of cinema to underscore the central core of the film, systems of expression guiding the way one processes reality - and what I took to be rote flashbacks at once reveal themselves to be non-chronological in a way that transcends 'flashback' or 'flash forward'. Very clever.
Totally agree; Villeneuve has for a while been one of the more interesting filmmakers working, but Arrival cements his status as one of the handful of directors I will excitedly follow to any project. To your point, LQ, the blending of the structure and style of this film with its content and themes is really special, to say nothing of Adams' masterful performance and the technical mastery on display (let's just give Arrival the sound design Oscar now, please).
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mfunk9786 wrote:If he knows that she's unable to change her decision making, and had already seen the rift it would've created between them, would that theoretically open up the possibility for her to even make any changes to the way she approaches anything? Is she now speaking sentences that she already has memories of, unable to make any alteration to her words or inflection? The can of worms that the reveal opens feels like too much metaphysical wonder with not enough considerations to the details. I repeat: I liked this film a lot better when we didn't know what these creatures were here to accomplish, and just saw how it affected everyone involved in trying to find out, and much less once we found out. The questions are far superior to their answers.
I couldn't disagree more; the tragedy and beauty of Adams' character experiencing her life like (in the words of the film) a sentence being written from both ends simultaneously is that she knows that she will outlive the person she will love most in her life, and she knows she can't change this (or the end of her relationship with Ian), but the knowledge doesn't change the fact that she will love her daughter as totally and unconditionally as she does. I cried like a baby once this was revealed, thinking about my two young daughters and how I wouldn't change a thing about the life that led to them even if I knew I'd have to lose them, just to have spent that time with them. This is one of the rare cases where the film's answers more than lived up to its questions.
As a side note, I saw this and Barry Jenkin's almost equally great Moonlight back-to-back, and in addition to being probably the best two individual films you could do this with in a theater at the moment, they also have some thematic overlaps that make them more complementary than their respective subject matter might lead you to believe.

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Re: Arrival (Denis Villeneuve, 2016)

#29 Post by jbeall » Sun Nov 20, 2016 7:53 pm

I really enjoyed the first 2/3 of the film, but where other "contemplative" sci-fi films fell apart in the third act (Interstellar, Sunshine), this one didn't, and I'm still trying to wrap my head around it.
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I got early on that playing with time was a key theme--twelve ships, albeit located in no discernable pattern/order, etc.--but the "reveal" at the end, i.e. that Louise now sees time in a non-linear fashion, is quite a wallop. To be sure, other sci-fi lit has explored this idea, e.g Slaughterhouse Five, but Arrival raises an ethical dimension: if you knew your child was going to die in adolescence of cancer, would you still have her? And what about getting pregnant before telling the husband what his daugher's fate will be?

Ian is a scientist, driven by his curiosity, yes, (and Renner does a great job here), but also wants to understand in order to control. It's hard to imagine reacting differently if your wife, who no longer sees time as linear, tells you that she got pregnant knowing what will eventually happen.

There seems to be a tension inherent in sci-fi between trying to imagine that which lies beyond human experience and comprehension, on one hand, and the need to rely on human categories of comprehension (derived from experience) to represent that on the other. Too many of the more promising sci-fi movies in recent years, such as the ones I mention above, fall back into predictable tropes at the end. What made this film so much more interesting is considering the implications of Louise's newfound comprehension, which is... fundamentally different.

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Re: Arrival (Denis Villeneuve, 2016)

#30 Post by flyonthewall2983 » Mon Nov 21, 2016 4:48 pm

This used a framing technique for it's depictions of news coverage that probably means it will only ever be shown in it's 2.35:1 aspect ratio that I've seen at least one other recent movie (The Martian) use. Kind of a clever way to make sure it's seen properly as opposed to being scanned down for TV.

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Re: Arrival (Denis Villeneuve, 2016)

#31 Post by Mr Sausage » Fri Dec 02, 2016 5:25 pm

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With all the talk of whether or not Amy Adams can change the future, no one's commented on how she uses the future to change the present in classic time loop fashion (and, with all such stories, where did the loop begin?). Some posters seem uncomfortable in a way they can't articulate with not having been given answers to questions that may not have answers. There is a limit to what we know, and ontological paradoxes are one of them. Any reorganization of our basic concept of time is going to be speculative; the best answers are best given in long theoretical papers, not in a dramatic story. A dramatic story is better at the direct representation of experience, and this movie gets one thing utterly right: it uses its form to give you the experience of a paradigm shift in the nature of your perceptions, in this case the formal experience of time.
The revelations of the film are not of any philosophical value in and of themselves. They repeat basic speculative concepts at a surface level that can be found in many other places. The value of the concepts here lies in the way they reorient how you're perceiving the film, and, further, how your experience of film, and language, and therefore time is structured and where the limits of those structures are. The movie gives you very little discursive information on those topics--which I'm happy about, because film is nearly always a poorer medium than language, mathematical or otherwise, to explore this. What it does is give you a much more direct experience of the the concepts as a tangible phenomenon, and it does so as a way to bring you much closer to the drama of the main character's experience. Something film is very good at--better than language certainly--is representing experience as simultaneity through montage. Perfect: the film can be a story about the thing while also being the thing (to an extent). That makes for a very satisfying movie experience for me. Not a groundbreaking intellectual experience, no, but a great time within a dramatic story. In this, it's a lot more successful than Interstellar, a movie that can only achieve its effect so long as its ideas are profound (and if not, not). Arrival doesn't need its ideas to be profound, it just needs you to experience them like the main character does. Whether or not love and togetherness and all that is really the summa of existence is not important; it is to Amy Adam's character, and we are brought closer to sharing her complex and unusual way of perceiving it.

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Re: Arrival (Denis Villeneuve, 2016)

#32 Post by DeprongMori » Sun Dec 18, 2016 10:12 pm

I went into this film knowing nothing about it other than it was a profoundly moving science fiction film and that it had been highly recommended by people whose tastes I trust -- a good thing as the film benefits greatly by going into it for the first time untainted by fore-knowledge. (Ironically enough.)

I was bowled over by how good this was overall, and got choked up more than once. One of the best science fiction films I've seen in years. Being of an age, and especially in the fragility of the present environment, the poignancy of the underlying story really hit me. I haven't managed to get to the theater often enough for new films, but glad I caught this one. I hadn't seen anything else by Villenueve, but based on other comments here I'll track down Sicario.

Regarding the absent father:
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Ian did not split with Louise in anger because she withheld the information about the future death of their daughter. As Hannah responded when Louise told her she'd see her father tomorrow, "I know. But he doesn't look at me the same way anymore." My later realization of what that statement meant added the implicit tragedy of Ian's story to the Louise/Hannah story -- Ian lost his dear daughter long before her actual death because he could not bear to be present to her in light of his fore-knowledge of her death.


One small complaint about the screenplay:
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There was one bit of deeply dumb dialogue in the first meeting between Louise and Weber that could have been so easily avoided that it nearly dropped me out of the movie -- that Weber should have been so poorly briefed before showing up at Louise's office that he had no idea that building an understanding of an alien language from first principles is a profoundly different problem than translating from a well documented language. Yes, it was a bit of explication that was needed to inform the audience but it was handled so badly I became skeptical about the whole enterprise of the film, and unnecessarily so. Fortunately the film soon overcame that early stumble and I was with the story for the rest of the film.

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Re: Arrival (Denis Villeneuve, 2016)

#33 Post by tenia » Mon Dec 19, 2016 2:36 am

I saw the movie last week and have been unimpressed by it.

It starts (prologue aside) rather well as some kind of ET version of Soderbergh's Contagion (which I liked a lot for its down-to-Earth very realistic but still thrilling treatment), with a one step at a time linguistic program. Sadly, the movie is quite dull on this, lacking a clear and thrilling goal while at the same time building up an artificial suspense based on the good ol' "those stupid bullheaded Russians / Chinese who just want to nuke everything".

It goes worse afterwards when seemingly the writers just pretty much give up and pull up the most ham-fisted Deus ex machina they could, which sadly the movie haven't been able to build up an atmosphere for the viewer to receive it with good will.
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General Shang seems to mirror what the movie is doing : "I don't know why, but it needs to go like this". And here you go with a facepalm-esque time paradox which allows Louise to change the present once in the future, a future that couldn't have happened... if she hadn't done stuff in the present.
However, the movie is so stupid in the way of presenting that that I felt being taken for the dumbest viewer ever.

More over, this sequence and its meaning + the following "twist" just shows how superficially manipulative the movie is. The prologue is shot and framed in a way leaving viewers with only Louise on the screen - as if she was a single mother - but once her little girl speaks of her dad, it's hard no to guess Ian is the father : what other reason could the movie have to frame the sequence that way ? But it still wants to give viewers an artificial suspense so you still have Louise saying very late in the movie "I know why my husband left me"... while speaking to Ian !

It also made me wonder : why Louise is shown so moody in the prologue since it's not a flash back but a flash forward ? Why her mother keeps on asking her if she's ok ?

This all totally neuters the emotional payload, making it way too manipulative and artificial for it to be compelling. Instead, you're left with a silly movie which spent 1h30 to under-deliver.
It's OK-ish in its crafting (baring one extremely digital-looking sequence) and the main actors are fine (even Renner which I know many think he lacks charisma), but the overall script is so artificial and manipulative and the pace too slow for its payload to work out.

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Re: Arrival (Denis Villeneuve, 2016)

#34 Post by Mr Sausage » Mon Dec 19, 2016 6:37 am

tenia wrote:Sadly, the movie is quite dull on this, lacking a clear and thrilling goal while at the same time building up an artificial suspense based on the good ol' "those stupid bullheaded Russians / Chinese who just want to nuke everything".
All suspense is artificial, so I'm not sure what you mean. Unearned?

But anyway, isn't internal division along already strained political lines essential to the movie's point, which seems to be a completion of the tower of babel myth, with the fall into a polyglot world full of strife and division being healed by a return to a more advanced, universal language (accomplished by someone who can already communicate across borders, and not just linguistically). This theme hardly works without the political tensions.
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tenia wrote:General Shang seems to mirror what the movie is doing : "I don't know why, but it needs to go like this". And here you go with a facepalm-esque time paradox which allows Louise to change the present once in the future, a future that couldn't have happened... if she hadn't done stuff in the present.
What's wrong with this? It's a standard time loop paradox that's unavoidable once past and future iterations of a person interact to change events. It's a long-standing sci-fi concept (see: Heinlein's By His Bootstraps and ...All You Zombies) that's done about as well here as anywhere. It's not a deus ex machina; it's both part of the movie's understanding of time and a long-standing genre technique. The only question (which Stanislaw Lem always humorously asks) is how did the loop get started and what did reality look like before it happened?
tenia wrote:But it still wants to give viewers an artificial suspense so you still have Louise saying very late in the movie "I know why my husband left me"... while speaking to Ian !
You know, she may actually have been divorced previously. She does live in an oddly large house for a single woman.
tenia wrote:It also made me wonder : why Louise is shown so moody in the prologue since it's not a flash back but a flash forward ? Why her mother keeps on asking her if she's ok ?
Depressed and lonely? See above.

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Re: Arrival (Denis Villeneuve, 2016)

#35 Post by tenia » Mon Dec 19, 2016 6:45 am

Mr Sausage wrote:
tenia wrote:Sadly, the movie is quite dull on this, lacking a clear and thrilling goal while at the same time building up an artificial suspense based on the good ol' "those stupid bullheaded Russians / Chinese who just want to nuke everything".
All suspense is artificial, so I'm not sure what you mean. Unearned?
I meant in the way that, actually, the movie continues to keep it "a surprise" and to play on it while the answer has been given away quite some time ago.
It's a bit like in Batman v Superman where it takes 2 hours for Lois to discover, gasp, that Lex Luthor is the villain (duh).

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Re: Arrival (Denis Villeneuve, 2016)

#36 Post by gfxtwin » Tue Dec 27, 2016 7:36 pm

TheDudeAbides wrote:This was a great film, potentially the best new film I've seen this year. It felt like Terrence Malick and 2001: A Space Odyssey had a love child.
With the story being a modern re-envisioning of the Day The Earth Stood Still in many ways!

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Re: Arrival (Denis Villeneuve, 2016)

#37 Post by theseventhseal » Thu Dec 29, 2016 5:13 pm

I think if you're going to set out to create a visionary and original science fiction film (as Kubrick did in 1968) the very least you should do is jettison some of the hoariest film cliches know to man. I agree with the other poster that the conflagration between the Russians and Americans was lazy, trite, and tired and as soon as that element was introduced to the film, my interest waned tremendous. As far as direction. Villeneuve proved he could be as UNORIGINAL as any director with the general bokeh-draped mise-en-scene of this film, over-laded with half-focused character drifting in blowing wheat fields (for some this immediately summons up illusions they're watching Malick. Poor Malick to be so underrated). I felt the direction was so derivative of today's soft focus films (Thank you Apple Computer commercials for the other needed effect -- gently noodling piano scores that would make Debussy wince) dripping with trumped up emotion than Villeneuve took a huge step backwards away from Sicario for me. I love Sicario as a daringly constructed film, but this one disappointed hugely. Whether he will be seen as an auteur remains to be seen, in my eyes. Interestingly, there was something oddly deflating about watchin Sicario a second time. The first time it was a driven and fascinating film, the second time I found it lifeless. It was an odd experience. I don't think I've ever been so let down by a second viewing. Perhaps it was simply a matter of the "surprises" no longer holding their power, although that would then suggest the direction itself wasn't as powerful as I originally thought and it was the story construction that was really Sicario true power. But, yes, I went into Arrival hoping to see something wholly original and left feeling wholly ripped off by a lackluster and improbability-filled story than was less a love child of "2001" and Malick, than the offspring of Lifetime feature and a modern television advertisement for a chronic fatigue treatment. For original science fiction, the only interesting production I've seen lately (and certainly not the dreadful "Stranger Things") is the Netflix series "The AO." Now that's interesting science fiction. Arrival was like an overblown Jerome Bixby PBS production from the 70s.

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Re: The Films of 2016

#38 Post by theseventhseal » Mon Jan 16, 2017 1:12 pm

barryconvex wrote:I can hardly believe it but i didn't really like Arrival. I've enjoyed all of Villeneuve's films, i love Amy Adams but this one didn't work for me. I will wait for others to see it before i post anything about the actual story except to say that the big finale elicited a response in me that was something akin to...um, come again? There are parts of this that are excellent, the fist half particularly is very well done. Adams is strong as usual, Renner and Whitaker are both good but this did not come anywhere near the profundities it was aiming for in its third act.
Arrival was a huge let down for me. I was expecting something smart and realistic. What can sci-fi aspire to except to CONVINCINGLY depict a "what if" situation. Since the director did such a great job with Sicario presenting a fictionalized reality, I went into the theater full of excitement that I might see a sci-fi film which matched the naturalism of Close Encounters and made me feel I had glimpsed what it might actually feel like if aliens arrived on earth. Instead, here was a mushy, dreamy Lifetime movie in disguise. The military character and the development of the crisis were sheer cliched Arrival bunk and felt like every other bad sci-fi film ever made. The whole film descending into some transcendental hogwash dripping with soft focus and cheap Nolan-esque story tricks. I wound up completely disappointed.

And your right about Amy Adams. I was thinking of the penultimate Amy Adams performance after watching "Noctural Animals" Here's what she does best: Stares blankly ahead confused, blinks, and looks like a deer (albeit a cute deer) in the headlights. If you think about it, that's the same performances she's give in everyone of her films. The slightly shocked, blinking blank stare girl.

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Re: Arrival (Denis Villeneuve, 2016)

#39 Post by tenia » Mon Jan 16, 2017 1:17 pm

Which is why I much prefered Adams in a movie like The Master.

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Re: Arrival (Denis Villeneuve, 2016)

#40 Post by Luke M » Tue Jan 24, 2017 6:36 pm

Luke M wrote:Can't see Adams getting an Oscar for a sci-fi flick.
I really really wish I had been wrong about this.


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Re: Arrival (Denis Villeneuve, 2016)

#42 Post by mfunk9786 » Wed Jan 25, 2017 11:18 am

It's very hard to tell from that expertly written article whether that footage is integrated into the film or is just a short doc after the credits?

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Re: Arrival (Denis Villeneuve, 2016)

#43 Post by tenia » Wed Jan 25, 2017 11:32 am

I've read on blu-ray.com that it's not an extended cut, but really only 8 minutes of behind-the-scenes footage. I suppose they're after the end credits.

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Re: Arrival (Denis Villeneuve, 2016)

#44 Post by domino harvey » Wed Feb 15, 2017 3:17 pm

I enjoyed this a lot, though I have some minor problems with its construction. I think the central conceit is clever and well-executed and unlike some other posters here, I think the film only comes together into something better than average once it starts connecting dots and showing its ambition. Still, I think the film could have used another half hour or more in set-up, and the timeline is never quite clear enough to justify the rapid progression of knowledge gleaned
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(though thematically perhaps this too is fitting)
I question some of the choices here, though, such as why Renner gets a one-off narrative monologue. I mean, narratively I understand its purpose, but it doesn't make sense given Adams narrates everything else (for good reason). I could also definitely have done without the shot that echoes the end of Enemy.

I do think the film plays fair with using filmic language against itself, and I suspect there's a great study to be made of the film from the Christian Metz branch of Film Semiotics. The overall message is intriguing and impactful, even if ultimately this pales in the wake of recent superior sci-fi works like Interstellar. Still, an intelligent and adult film making money and being nominated for a ton of Oscars is real progress and a sign that there's room in the marketplace for spectacle films that respect their audience.

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Re: Arrival (Denis Villeneuve, 2016)

#45 Post by swo17 » Sun Feb 19, 2017 3:25 am

I don't know if this is just semantics but...
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I've seen several mentions of Louise "changing" the present by knowing the future. I don't think she ever changes anything in the sense of overwriting one timeline with an alternate reality. There is only one timeline, but it's nontraditional and loops in on itself. This is also, for instance, why Louise still has a child despite knowing that it will have a brief life. Choice never enters into the equation. She must live out the fate that she's seen in glimpses. It's a bittersweet life, because she knows in advance of both great highs and great lows.

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Re: Arrival (Denis Villeneuve, 2016)

#46 Post by tenia » Sun Feb 19, 2017 4:07 am

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She doesnt change it, she merely conforms to it though she "writes" part lf it from the present.

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Re: Arrival (Denis Villeneuve, 2016)

#47 Post by Mr Sausage » Sun Feb 19, 2017 6:54 am

tenia wrote:
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She doesnt change it, she merely conforms to it though she "writes" part lf it from the present.
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That she "writes part of it from the present" is only half true, or more accurately, one part of two truths. As time has looped, but that loop can be accessed by the time traveler (even if only a mental one, as here), it is true both that: A. the future is changed by actions in the present; B. the future is not changed by actions in the present. At more length:

A. knowledge of future information can be used to do things in the present that could not otherwise have been done, therebye changing the future. Changing the future is true.
B. all knowledge of the future can only exist because that future exists, so any action based on its knowledge will perpetually instantiate that future, therebye not changing the future. Changing the future is false.

This is the paradox of time loops, they both say and do not say that the future is changeable (more technically: they declare something to be ontologically prior to itself). The only solution is to use non-classical logic to declare them a dialetheism, that is, that a contradiction is true. It is true that the future is and is not changeable.

Arguing whether or not the lead character has choice is pointless: it is true that she does and that she does not. And there is a brain-busting end on it.

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Re: Arrival (Denis Villeneuve, 2016)

#48 Post by matrixschmatrix » Sun Feb 19, 2017 12:02 pm

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I believe the question of choice vs fate- whether precognition allows you to change the future or medley reveals your powerlessness to do so- is more central to the plot of the short story, which does not include the Cold War-esque plot elements. I would say that, given that she is able to defuse that plot element only by using highly specific future knowledge that she could have gotten at in no way other than precognition, it is clear at least that the existence of pregognition has therefore changed things. Therefore, the idea of a locked timeline- as her going forward with have a child might imply- cannot hold.

Once you have a non-locked timeline, there are questions of whether always knowing the outcome of your own actions means that you therefore only have one course of action, and of whether a decision you made that you cannot remember making (since making it results in a timeline in which it had already been made) means that the decision is no longer really yours. I would say that neither denies free will; the former is analogous to like Ozymandias in Watchmen, where you might feel trapped, but you're still perfectly free to allow yourself to fail (or in this case, to have a child whom you know will not survive to adulthood- meaning that is now an argument AGAINST fatalism). The latter, I think, is analogous to someone who does something while blackout drunk (though not in the impaired decisions sense): if you decide to kill someone, and then lose the memory of that decision, I think it's generally agreed upon that you're still responsible for it.

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Re: Arrival (Denis Villeneuve, 2016)

#49 Post by swo17 » Sun Feb 19, 2017 12:56 pm

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Of course, we never actually see the future, only her perception of it in the present. It could be that she only sees what has been designed to happen--what the universe or God or whatever has worked out as the story of her life (echoes of the book title)--but she exercises her free will by consenting to it, by playing along. This also reminds me of Linklater's final speech in Waking Life--that there is only one moment, with the eternal question being: do you say yes to all of this?

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Re: Arrival (Denis Villeneuve, 2016)

#50 Post by Mr Sausage » Sun Feb 19, 2017 2:35 pm

Matrix, you've made a critical error in your reasoning:
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matrixschmatrix wrote:v I would say that, given that she is able to defuse that plot element only by using highly specific future knowledge that she could have gotten at in no way other than precognition, it is clear at least that the existence of pregognition has therefore changed things. Therefore, the idea of a locked timeline- as her going forward with have a child might imply- cannot hold
Your reasoning treats the event as simple precognition, like learning the outcome of a baseball game before it happens. You have to remember: Louise sees a future event in which she is told about information she conveyed in her immediate present that could not have been learned from that immediate present. The future moment cannot occur without the precognition, unlike that earlier baseball game which will occur regardless of the precognition.

Why is this crucial? Because your argument rests on assumptions about causality and ontology that do not hold. Your argument is based on the idea that the present causes the future (hence you can talk about whether or not people in the present can change the future). But it cannot work if the future causes the present. In Arrival, the future causes the present.

The real argument here is not one of fate vs free will, because this is not about individual will (not yet). This is about ontology, the nature of being: how is something existing, and what is the nature of that existence.

In Arrival, we have a closed system, a loop, with two key causal moments: 1. the phone call relaying secret information (a); 2. the meeting where a is discussed (b). Now, a causes b (a --> b) because there's no meeting without the first phone call; but b also causes a (b --> a) because there's no phone call without the information from the meeting. So they're mutually dependent, a if and only if b (a ≡ b). So if the information that causes the future could only have come from the future it's supposed to've caused, then the information is ontologically prior to itself (possible, despite what Aquinas says). And if information from the future is the only way for the present to cause the future, then the future is ontologically prior to itself. Same with the past: it must be prior to itself, too, since it must precede the future that causes it.

So you see the problem: in a loop, things exist before they happen temporally. Ontology and temporality are split. The future and the present depend on each other for their existence; without the one, there cannot be the other. Hence both must happen, because they are each other's cause. If one ceases to exist, the other has no cause, and therefore must fall into non-existence. Meaning, therefore, that the present both can and cannot change the future, and the future both can and cannot change the present. On top of that, certain objects (including ideas) are self-existing, ie. they bring themselves into existence. It is a paradox, and only solvable if you agree it's a dialetheism and that contradictions can be true.

The idea of whether free will exists within co-dependent systems is, I don't know, kind of beside the point. But it still falls into an ontological paradox in this instance: if you change the future, you must negate the present, meaning you did not change the future, so the present exists for you to change the future, so you negate the present, meaning you did not change the future... And on and on.

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