Annihilation is a 2018 Sci-Fi cum horror film directed by Alex Garland. Based on a novel by Jeff VanderMeer, it centers on 5 military scientists in Lena (Natalie Portman), Dr. Ventress (Jennifer Jason Leigh), Anya (Gina Rodriguez), Cass (Tuva Novotny) and Josie (Tessa Thompson) who embark on an expedition in an uncanny woodland area called “The Shimmer” to solve not only the mystery behind its formation but also the mystery that lies inside it.
From the onset, you can predict that you are going to like this film; it absorbs you into what it’s about in the blink of an eye and quite frankly it took me by surprise. Imagine an eerie and impossible scenario whereby someone pushes you into a train that is already in considerable motion and you end up within its confines unscathed; that’s what this movie does to you from the minute the opening credits roll. That said, let’s delve into this cinematic beauty and first up in the analysis pecking order as per usual with my reviews is the acting.
Natalie Portman as Lena is beyond exemplary here; her character has a lot of depth and drives in what she is intending to achieve after a devastating experience that befalls her. Hurt is definitely an understatement when you try to make sense of her condition and thus you the viewer will tend to connect with and understand everything she does afterward in spite of the apparent liabilities. Jane the Virgin herself Gina Rodriguez is also in this flick. Much as I have not particularly been a fan of her CW television series, I can tell she is a great actress judging by her performance here; she is outspokenly caring and at the same time not afraid to pull any punches, sometimes even literally and hence her display encompasses two contrasting personalities rolled into one and I loved it. It would, of course, be an absolute abomination on my part not to mention Tessa Thompson; it’s a bummer that her role here doesn’t top her role in Thor; Ragnarok but notwithstanding, I think she portrayed Dr. Josie Radek the best she could given the subtleness of her character.
Be that as it may, it’s time to unearth the singular pitfall of this screenplay, and by unearth I mean a full on excavation simply because the fault doesn’t just lie on the surface waiting for you to spot it easily, it lies deep within. There is an unnecessary and ambiguous subplot involving Natalie Portman’s character and Daniel (David Gyasi) that I most definitely didn’t get the hang of; it pops up a few times in the film and whenever it does all you think about is when it’s going to end, at least from my critical point of view.
Ultimately, I can confidently affirm to you the reader that Annihilation is the best movie of the year so far alongside Hostiles; the cinematography and production design involved in bringing “The Shimmer” and everything inside it to the big screen is admirable, the music is fantastic; blends well with the bona fide moments and brings out that much needed dramatic effect.