How Arrival’s Big Twist Was Spoiled by a Cryptic Plot Point

In Denis Villeneuve's Arrival, one of the most mysterious elements of the film was the aliens' purpose on Earth. 12 giant pods arrived, offering a coded language to world powers, which eventually caused them all to break from an alliance and work separately as they each got hints the "gift" offered was indeed a weapon. However, as the slow burn progressed, Arrival's big twist ended up being spoiled by its most cryptic plot point.

Amy Adams' Louise was the expert linguist brought in to communicate with the beings in America and broker peace. She worked with a physicist, Ian (Jeremy Renner), but the job took a toll, as they were racing against Russia and China, who were inching closer toward attacking the creatures by misunderstanding the language.

However, Louise was getting visions as Arrival went on, showcasing her with a baby girl, who then grew to be a rebellious teen. More and more, we realized the dad left, and Louise was slightly resentful to the girl, even bullying her at times during her school work since her dad was the scientist, not Louise.

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This basically sold out that Ian was the father and these weren't dreams or hallucinations -- they were premonitions. However, halfway through and it became obvious Louise was seeing the future, which spoiled what the gift was indeed. The language could be a weapon if humanity used it for evil, but Louise eventually used one vision in this closed time loop to speak to China, harnessing intel from a future meeting with its military chief about his wife's dying words to get him to stand down in the present.

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Ultimately, the aliens gave this gift so mankind could unite and perfect it, helping them in some unknown predicament 3,000 years down the line, with Louise being the one to write a book and lead the movement. Sadly, when you decipher Louise was seeing into the future early on, a lot of the emotional resonance is lost in translation. The sad thing is this bit of telegraphing information could have been hidden had Arrival disguised Ian's role.

Early on, he's fawning over her, and they even speak of bad relationships, harping on how they're single nerds. If Arrival made it so that Louise was in a marriage on the rocks with the kid and the dad, these visions could have been shaped as memories rather than have Lousie as a blank canvas.

They could also have used some form of past trauma as a misdirection, potentially suggesting that she experienced this in the past and is haunted by it. That way, audiences wouldn't have guessed she was prescient with the conclusion of Arrival.

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Renaldo Matadeen (7027 Articles Published)

I'm a former Chemical Engineer. It was boring so I decided to write about things I love. On the geek side of things, I write about comics, cartoons, video games, television, movies and basically, all things nerdy. I also write about music in terms of punk, indie, hardcore and emo because well, they rock! If you're bored by now, then you also don't want to hear that I write for ESPN on the PR side of things. And yes, I've written sports for them too! Not bad for someone from the Caribbean, eh? To top all this off, I've scribed short films and documentaries, conceptualizing stories and scripts from a human interest and social justice perspective. Business-wise, I make big cheddar (not really) as a copywriter and digital strategist working with some of the top brands in the Latin America region. In closing, let me remind you that the geek shall inherit the Earth. Oh, FYI, I'd love to write the Gargoyles movie for Disney. YOLO. That said, I'm on Twitter @RenaldoMatadeen. So holler.

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