Movie Breakdown: Annihilation

February 22, 2018


Pre-Screening Stance:

Alex Garland (Ex Machina) in the director’s chair is enough to get me interested in any movie, but my anticipation for Annihilation has been peaked by Paramount deeming it “too intellectual” and “too complicated.”  Just exactly what did Garland create here?  I need to see it.

Post-Screening Ramble:

Like Contact, Arrival and various other heady sci-fi films, Annihilation is as ambitious as it is divisive.  You may truly adore this strange movie and want to defend it for all days, or you may loathe it and wonder why in the hell anyone would want to bother with it.  Speaking just for myself, I found it to be great.  The film begins with an introduction to Lena (Natalie Portman), a former soldier, current biologist who is having a very tough time getting over the death of her husband.  Then, because this movie likes its curve balls, her hubby Kane (Oscar Issac) strolls in the front door like all is well.  Only, everything is wrong with him, and it isn’t long before Lena finds out that he’s been away on a mission in what’s known as The Shimmer, a possibly alien, definite death trap of an area that’s ever-expanding.  In an effort to get some answers for herself and to help Kane, Lena joins the latest expedition into The Shimmer.

If you’re thinking that all of this sounds exciting and interesting, you’re right!  Once the all-female crew enters The Shimmer, director Alex Garland uses crazy creatures, intriguing revelations and a constantly evolving group dynamic to steadily ratchet up the intensity level, and the result is quite a few moments worthy of a good arm chair grip.  Here though is where some will fall in love and where others will scoff, the last chunk of the film is very weird.  I won’t spoil it (because that would be dumb), but I will note that it completely shifts gears and what happens is something that you’ll either find immensely thought provoking or rather anti-climactic.  Good luck!

Challenge yourself this weekend and go see Annihilation.

One Last Thought:

I’ve never been one to go for the sort of coffee table clutter that details ships, characters and whatnot from movies, but I’d totally buy a book that shows me more of the mutated creatures and plants from Annihilation.  The designs all throughout the film are fascinating.


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