What The Martian wish it could be–a hard sci-fi flick examining compassion and sympathy on a global scale. Based on a novella by Ted Chiang, Arrival succeeds due to its ability to commit. Information on the aliens trickle out at a patient, methodical pace, providing room for Jóhann Jóhannsson’s thrilling soundtrack to breathe. Denis Villeneuve effectively uses the format of film to play with expectations, deliver effective twists, and subvert a few ideas along the way, a la Inception. It’s destined to join the pantheon of quality space blockbusters alongside Gravity and Interstellar, but perhaps it’s always been so.