Title – Annihilation (2018)
Director – Alex Garland (Ex_Machina)
Cast – Nathalie Portman, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Tessa Thompson, Oscar Isaac, Gina Rodriguez
Plot – After her husband Kane (Isaac) returns from a top secret mission in which he was presumed dead, ex-solider turned biologist Lena (Portman) heads into an environmental disaster zone known as The Shimmer with a small group of fellow researchers in search of answers regarding the mysteries of the seemingly extra-terrestrial zone.
“It’s making something new”
Review by Eddie on 14/03/2018
It’s a shame as a cinemagoer living outside of America that the only way in which I get to see Alex Garland’s sophomore feature film (arguably his third behind the camera if recent articles about the British writer/director helming most of 2012’s Dredd are true) and Ex_Machina follow-up Annihilation is in the comfort of my own home via Netflix, after the film’s international cinema release was forgone in light of a nervous studio fearing a large scale cinematic schedule was not the financially viable option.
I’m certainly not complaining about the fact I get to watch Annihilation so soon after its financially disappointing release in America, as Garland’s adaptation of Jeff VanderMeer’s well-regarded book of the same name was my most anticipated film release of 2018, it’s just that a sci-fi/horror hybrid as unique and visually stunning as Annihilation is makes one wish you got to take in the experience in the format these type of experiences are made for; the big screen.
Rants aside, Annihilation proves that Garland is no one hit wonder and the man who’s been responsible in some way or another for some of the great sci-fi’s of the modern era (Sunshine, Dredd, Ex_Machina) has with this haunting and captivating ride well and truly established himself as one of the most exciting filmmakers working in the industry today.
In an era where so many films feel cut from the same cloth and originality is harder to come by, Annihilation sees Garland deliver a narrative that all at once feels fresh, intriguing and captivating in its entirety and while not everything within this visually dazzling experience clicks together perfectly, there’s little denying this intellectually rich and mind-bending ride will stick with you long after the credits have rolled.
Following Nathalie Portman’s ex-soldier turned biologist Lena’s journey into a seemingly extra-terrestrial in nature phenomenon known as The Shimmer with a collection of fellow female comrades, Annihilation offers Garland a chance for his imagination to run wild as the true nature of this world unlike we’ve ever seen before begins to make itself apparent.
Led by the always committed Portman, Annihilation creates an almost constant tension and palpable feeling of uneasiness as Garland’s colourful visual palette melds together with some striking visual effects and an atmospheric and surprising score by Geoff Barrow and Ben Salisbury and while Annihilation is foremost and foremost a sci-fi thriller, Garland’s ability to combine that with genuine horror chills is quite masterful with a scene concerning an untypical-bear likely to remain one of the year’s most unsettlingly creepy cinematic moments.
It’s not the only cinematic moment within Annihilation likely to stick with many viewers throughout the year, as like Ex_Machina, Garland has crafted an unpredictable and memorable final act with Annihilation’s latter stages, a collection of surprising and narratively rich moments that are likely to cause Annihilation to be one of those sci-fi events that remains in the consciousness of much discussion in the years to come.
Final Say –
A hauntingly beautiful and richly constructed narrative help make Annihilation a sci-fi like we’ve never seen before and while Garland reaches for heights he sometimes can’t quite grasp, Annihilation’s ability to surprise and mesmerize makes it one of the years must-see experiences and a new addition to the top-class sci-fi efforts of the modern era.
4 ½ phosphorus grenades out of 5