From the writer and director of Ex Machina comes a mind-bending science fiction story about a team of scientists who venture out into The Shimmer, a zone where no man who has entered has come back. That is until Lena’s husband, Kane returns. While Kane recovers, Lena teams up with others to discover what The Shimmer is and where it leads, only to discover the terrifying and perplexing truth. The film stars Natalie Portman as Lena, Oscar Isaac as Kane, Jenifer Jason-Leigh as Dr. Ventress, Tessa Thompson as Josie Radek, Gina Rodriguez as Anya and Tuva Novotny as Cass. The nice thing about this film is that it is almost completely female led, giving a refreshing addition to science fiction films. For the most part, science fiction is usually led by males only, so having an entire team of strong female scientists lead an adventure into un unknown dimension, is pretty awesome.
Annihilation is one of those films where you will need to view it multiple times to truly understand it in its entirety. The film is complex, bizarre and surreal, but when it is discovered what the film is really saying, it is mind blowing. Much like Christopher Nolan’s Inception and Interstellar, the plot is confusing, and you’ll find your mind scrambling to try to figure out what this all means, especially towards the end of the film.
The direction here is beautiful and writer/director Alex Garland brings out his best film yet after Ex Machina. The talented director has already developed his directing style of taking thought-provoking concepts and turning them into science fiction stories. Given these two astonishing films, his next will most likely be just as intriguing. For the film buffs, Annihilation is very much like Andrei Tarkovsky’s Stalker in plot, and Tarkovsky’s Solaris in terms of visuals. It’s clear what sorts of films Garland is fans of, and the results of his influences are nothing short of amazing.
The visuals in Annihilation are both stunningly beautiful and strangely unique, creating the eerie atmosphere the film needed. The movie relies highly on its visuals, but that’s not to say it doesn’t have an amazing story as well.
It is incredibly difficult to describe Annihilation to moviegoers who have not yet seen it, due to its ambiguity and complex nature. All that is necessary to know before seeing it is that it is bizarre and confusing but stands as one of the best science-fiction films in recent years. It is important to note however, that there are some incredibly creepy and unsettling scenes, one involving a terrifying bear-like creature. The scenes that are meant to scare or disturb truly perform their purposes well.
Annihilation is not the sort of film that people watch for random light-hearted entertainment. Instead, watching the film is like having an out of body experience and digs deep into the human soul, making you questions things that you may not have questioned before. Annihilation is more than a movie, it’s an experience.
Best Scene: The mind-bending final fifteen minutes
Weirdest scene: The scene with that unworldly-like bear
Character you hope gets eaten by that bear: Anya
Rated R for violence, bloody images, language and some sexuality