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).
Cast: Natalie Portman, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Gina Rodriguez, Tessa Thompson, Tuva Novotny and Oscar Isaac
Release Date: Feb 22, 2018
Genres: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi
Rated R for violence, bloody images, language and some sexuality
Runtime: 1 Hr 55 min
Annihilation, Alex Garland’s 2nd directorial feature, is a lush, dense science fiction film that’s recalls Tarkovsky's Solaris, Kubrick’s 2001 mixed with a splash of Alien. On its most basis level, it’s a fascinating decent into sci-fi madness. Garland maintains a steady sense of uneasiness throughout, blending beautiful visuals with brutal and visceral moments straight out of classic creature features. The flashbacks that pepper the film are a strong clue that Garland is after something deeper and more meaningful than a straight up science fiction film.
Annihilation is the type of film that requires contemplation afterwards because it does not present you with easy answers. Once you get past the trippy visuals, especially during the final act, and start dissecting what you’ve seen there’s plenty to think about and appreciate, similar to Denis Villeneuve’s The Arrival. If there is a small draw back it’s that the characters are types and never overly developed outside of basic features and personality traits. Still, the cast deliver strong performances across the board. Natalie Portman is solid in the lead role, maintaining a steady sense of bewildered wonder and dogged determination. Jennifer Jason Leigh, Tessa Thompson, Tuva Novotny and Oscar Isaac all turn in workman like performances servicing the film more than themselves. Gina Rodriguez does leave a strong impression playing against type, at least to anyone familiar with her TV work, as the group’s tough girl. As a whole, Annihilation should sate science fiction fans hunger for multi layered genre fare.