Thoughts: Annihilation Raises the Sci-fi Bar
Following the success of Ex Machina, writer/director Alex Garland brings us another thought-provoking and mind-bending film. This time its up to Natalie Portman to solve the unanswerable riddle of what Annihilation all about.
Alex Garland has left his mark loud and clear that he is a directorial force in the Sci-fi game. He is able to tell us nothing, give us striking visuals, wrap it all in an enigma, and yet, come out the other side understanding everything that happened, leaving very few loose ends. It's very rare for a director to convey high concept films so elegantly and never lose the audience in all the chaos. He is also a director who likes to take risks by casting a predominately female cast.
Led by Natalie Portman, an all-female team heads into the Shimmer in search of a lighthouse, the source of an impending doom. Portman pulls triple duty as the soldier-microbiologist-wife who must find a cure for her ailing veteran husband after he is the only person to ever come back from the Shimmer. While the rest of the expedition have their own quirks, they don't make much of an impression to learn more about them. That's the main downside in an otherwise excellent film.
The real star is the special effects and set design team. Everything encountered is both beautiful and terrifying with a sense of wonder and intrigue. But, there is one scene that is nightmarishly haunting that it verges on being genius.
Annihilation is a treat for the eyes and for fans of the Sci-fi genre. It may seem chaotic at times, but it all pays off.