'Annihilation' Requires Your Attention
Annihilation follows Natalie Portman as a biologist who signs up for a dangerous, secret expedition into what the scientists call "The Shimmer," where the laws of nature do not apply. Now that may sound generic and vague, but I don’t want to say anything else because this movie is a trip to which you should go in as blind as you can.
The film is a visual marvel; the world inside "The Shimmer" is a sight to behold and must be seen on the big screen. The performances are great all around, with Tessa Thompson, Jennifer Jason Leigh, and Gina Rodriguez of Jane The Virgin fame all giving stellar performances. The story is incredibly ambitious and explores themes of the self and humanity to great effect.
Annihilation covers a lot of ground, so much so that it needs a second viewing for me to fully understand and grasp what Garland is going for. In terms of negatives, there are a few creature effects that don’t look great, which is unfortunate because the rest of the environments look incredible. Now a quick disclaimer before my final thoughts: this movie is a slow paced, heady sci-fi film that I can easily see a lot of people seeing as boring. I would recommend Garland’s first film, Ex Machina, as a good litmus test as it’s also slow moving, but a bit more straightforward about its plot and underlying themes.
Overall, the film is incredibly entertaining although I’m not quite sure how I would rate it. I need a second viewing to fully form my thoughts on the film, but if you’re a sci-fi fan and want to support an incredibly talented rising filmmaker, I highly recommend seeing Annihilation, especially in the theater.