After an early-career spate of dramas in his native language, the French-Canadian director Denis Villeneuve has spent the past few years subverting seemingly every film genre he can get his hands on.
There was his spin on the child-abduction thriller ("Prisoners"); the new take on the Jekyll-and-Hyde trope ("Enemy"); a fresh look at the drug-cartel action flick (last year's "Sicario").
Villeneuve most recently has been seeking out a new world. Or, more accurately, a new universe.
The director's "Arrival," out from Paramount in November after its Toronto International Film Festival premiere Monday, finds him tackling the global alien-invasion thriller, but in the cerebral and intimate way fans have come to expect from what might be called Villeneuvalia.
"It's not about choosing a specific genre; that's not how I go about deciding what movies to make," the director said, with a kind of verbal shrug when asked why he was ripping through established categories like a 2019-era Spinner.
Then, as if reconsidering the role that factor might play, he added, "But nothing is more fun than breaking the rules."