A phenomenally scripted sci-fi saga impressive in scale, visually arresting rainbow-hued cinematography, biological exegesis, multi-layered interpretive symbolism, & mystery/suspense escalation centered by Portman and Garland’s direction. 9.1/10.
Based on Jeff VanderMeer’s best-selling Southern Reach Trilogy, Annihilation stars Natalie Portman, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Gina Rodriguez, Tessa Thompson, Tuva Novotny and Oscar Isaac. It was written and directed by Alex Garland (Ex Machina, 28 Days Later).
*Possible spoilers ahead*
Review: A phenomenally scripted sci-fi saga impressive in scale, visually arresting rainbow-hued cinematography, biological exegesis (particularly enjoyed as a former Biologist myself), multi-layered interpretive symbolism, & mystery/suspense escalation centered by a strong Portman-led cast & Garland’s clever direction. My word, this was one of the best Sci-Fi films I’ve seen in a longgg time.
A sci-fi/horror meld with an intellectual ambition rarely seen in modern films that had me pining and contemplating answers hours after the credits rolled, with a mysterious/suspenseful script as imaginative as its biological/ultra 80’s/Alien-y sci-fi premise, Alex Garland has done it again after Ex-Machina.
The stunning rainbow-tinted visuals paralleling impressive cinematography and psychadelic kaleidoscope-esque shots is mirrored by strong acting led by Portman’s performance and achored by Jennifer Jason Leigh, Tessa Thompson, and the hauntingly sketchy Oscar Isaac, intriguing plot structure completely twisted and turned on its head by the finale revelation, and a wild ending that stands as one of the most unbelievable (captivating) moments I’ve seen in a Sci-Fi film perhaps this millennium.
Now, there are some problems like the elephant in the room – the head-scratchingly modern-Ghostbusters-looking only-female group – unclear reasoning why they didn’t just send a bigger (and gender-balanced for equality) team in, which ultimately would’ve only improved their chances of at least a few more getting to the Lighthouse? Oh and while I absolutely adore the open-endedness of the ending left subject to endless interpretation (philosophically from self-destruction themes to biologically in cancer to narratively in Lena’s truthfulness, etc.), I really wish they would’ve at least specified what the organism wanted/was doing there in the end.
Overall though, Annihilation is an absolutely majestic Sci-Fi saga certainly more ballsy and ambitious than most things on the market today and backs up its intellectual ardor with sublime scripting, visuals, and performances. 9.1/10.
Overall Rating: 9.1/10