‘The Arrival’ by Denis Villeneuve is one of the indisputable modern classics of science fiction cinema. Adapting a seemingly endless story by Ted Chiang that gave the title to his masterful collection of short stories ‘The Story of Your Life’, this 2016 film managed to visualize in images the highly abstract component of the original story, making it accessible at the same time and shaping a fascinating show.
But… what does ‘The Arrival’ tell? In Villeneuve’s film, Amy Adams plays a linguist who is recruited by the military to communicate with strange alien life forms after twelve mysterious spaceships from this alien race land around the world. She will invent a way to communicate with them, which will lead her to a challenge that goes far beyond lexical issues, questioning the stability of time and space.
The work of what is undoubtedly Denis Villeneuve’s best film (who has ended up becoming one of the most prestigious authors of serious science fiction, and who likes both impossible adaptations -‘Dune’- and high-risk sequels -‘Blade Runner 2049’-) stands out for the care of its technical invoice. The director even commissioned the creation of an authentic alien language that had coherence, and it is just one of the genius details of a film that is very complicated to bring to fruition, but that succeeds thanks to its honesty and its visual solutions.
Countdown on Netflix. However, this piece of galactic goldsmith’s days are numbered on Netflix. It will remain on the platform only until April 30. So you have less than ten days to see it on the Reed Hastings platform. If it’s not convenient for you to take a look this week or you’ve recently unsubscribed, don’t worry, because there are other options…
We will always have HBO Max. On the Warner platform you can also see ‘The Arrival’, for the moment with no scheduled release date. Of course, keep in mind that the film belongs to Sony, so at some point it will also disappear from HBO Max to wander around other platforms. The films produced by Sony are not like those of Disney or Warner, which is more or less clear that they will end up exclusively on the platforms of their parent companies.
Why does this happen. Simple: when a film does not belong to a production company that has its own channels of exploitation where it can be shown exclusively (in other words: it is unlikely that you will see ‘The Batman’ or ‘Moon Knight’ on subscription platforms – rental and sale digital are another matter – other than HBO Max or Disney +), the licenses for periods of time that range between one and two years, exclusively or not. This is how it was done in the days of linear television (with a limited number of broadcasts included) and this is how it is done now.
The result of this way of working, where exclusivities are now only reserved for the platform itself, is that there are no definitive disappearances in the panorama of streaming. If a movie leaves Netflix, it appears on HBO Max. And if not, it will go to Prime Video or Disney +. But this policy has a dark side, and it is that the rarities, the hidden classics, the films that are already more than ten or fifteen years old are increasingly difficult to find.
The platforms are obsessed with showing “the latest” and because the licenses rotate continuously and are rarely exclusive, they forget about other types of material. The solution to clone platforms is the same as always, to resort to different proposals: Filmin, Flixolé or Mubi have what no one else has. Exclusivities at the stroke of a checkbook? No: the need to make a difference in the face of the budgetary excesses of the rest.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism