Movie Review: Annihilation (2018)

Starring: Natalie Portman, Oscar Isaac and Jennifer Jason Leigh

Directed by: Alex Garland

After Lena’s husband reappears a year after being assumed dead he doesn’t seem to be the man that left for the army. After he begins to bleed from the mouth he’s rushed to a hospital where he’s intercepted by government officials and Lena is taken into a quarantined area where she then volunteers herself to go on an expedition to an unknown mysterious places known as ‘the shimmer’ where the laws of nature don’t apply.

I’ve seen a number of mixed reviews about Annihilation all over the internet so I thought it was time to decide which side of the fence I fall on. Some are calling Annihilation a modern day sci-fi masterpiece whereas others are calling it a confused pile of crap. I’m largely in the middle but slightly leaning towards confused pile of crap.

Let’s begin by talking about the good points that the movie had to offer. Firstly, the movie is visually pleasing with some great cinematography and at times splendid production design which creates a whole new fantasy world that’s unique and different to anything that I’ve seen. Secondly there were a few scenes of brutality with the death of some of Lena’s expedition team getting torn apart by the creatures of the shimmer. It wasn’t something I was expecting to see in a movie that was pretty tame otherwise but I was digging the outcome of those scenes and the haunting screams from the monster were perfectly chilling.

Unfortunately we now have to talk about the bad parts of Annihilation and the biggest flaw that held this movie back was the story itself. Initially I was intrigued but about halfway through it got very confusing and weird with very little being explained and by the time it ended I was still a little perplexed as to what went on. Also, Annihilation boasted a decent cast which included Natalie Portman, who usually churns out decent performances, Oscar Isaac, who is quickly becoming a big deal within Hollywood after appearing in the latest batch of Star Wars movies and doing a great job in Ex Machina. Finally, you have Jennifer Jason Leigh who was probably the most under utilised member of the cast. She was recently nominated for an Academy Award for her wonderful performance in The Hateful Eight, but here in Annihilation she was very plain, dull and didn’t really add anything to her role as you’d expect her to.

There were also a lot of illogical discrepancies that really bugged me throughout the film, one being that the team of five women who would go into the Shimmer, only one came from a military background with proper training yet everybody was given automatic weapons. Also, why weren’t these people wearing any protective clothing while traipsing about the shimmer and considering everyone who had entered the shimmer in the past had died and the only survivor was hospitalised with multiple organ failure, the smart thing would’ve been to wear some kind of protective clothing.

Overall, the movie was visually great but the story didn’t live up to what it could’ve been as on paper at least there was a lot of intrigue from my part. Also, with quite a decent cast, the director failed to get the best out of them as the movie just passes by without there being any standout performances.

4/10

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