Netflix is known for releasing some pretty impressive stuff. 2018 was the year that the first Netflix film was nominated for an Oscar. It seems they are continuing with their aim of producing quality content, with the recent release of their original film, Annihilation.
Annihilation follows Lena (Natalie Portman), a biologist who signs up for a secret expedition following the disappearance of her husband (Oscar Isaac).
First of all: this movie is brilliant. It’s a lingering, static kind of movie, one which blows your mind and makes you think of nothing else for days after. It, much like the Shimmer it is centred around, encompasses everything, drawing the watcher into a deeper state of unrest and curiosity with each passing minute.
Directed and written by Alex Garland, the man behind Ex Machina, it is only fair that Annihilation should live up to the high expectations set for it. Its visceral visuality and its ability to make even the most disturbing of situations beautiful is something to be admired, and it demonstrates just how good the writing of this movie actually is.
Natalie Portman plays the role of the veteran biologist almost too well. It’s almost as unnerving as the surroundings that the characters are in, how well she controls the scenes, how well she slips into the character. When watching it, you almost forget that that isn’t actually who Natalie Portman is in real life.
Not only is there star power at the forefront of the movie, but it is filled with it. The supporting cast includes Gina Rodriguez, Tessa Thompson, Jennifer Jason Leigh and Oscar Isaac, just to name a few. Lena’s mission team, played by all women, is a testament to the talent in this movie. It is amazing how well written, well played and well executed the supporting characters are in this movie. None of the characters in this movie are drowned out by one another. They all stand their own ground and they do it well.
This movie is possibly one of the trippiest things I have ever watched. The entire end sequence is a feast for the senses, drawing on sight, sound, texture and colour to deliver a beautiful and chilling ending. It’s mesmerising, enveloping and downright gorgeous.
Often considered a book that could never be converted to the screen, Annihilation is a movie that relies a lot on the ability of the watcher to piece together the story. There is no confirmation, no set story, just a reliance on the interpretation of the audience. Many interpretations involve the natural world, some involve the standard idea of aliens, and some are deeper, more convoluted. This movie means different things to each person that watches it, shifting colour and meaning, much like the Shimmer itself.
That’s not to say that there aren’t things wrong with this movie. There are plotholes, some of which are blatantly obvious and some which don’t really matter in the grand scheme of things. However, despite the occasional slip in storytelling, this movie is a perfect example of how to do sci-fi well.
Overall, this movie is a complete success. It’s complicated, it’s primal, it’s beautiful. It’s definitely worth a watch.
⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐