Friday, February 23, 2018
"Annihilation" Review By Tim Hellman
'ANNIHILATION': Four and a Half Stars (Out of Five)
The new science fiction horror flick from writer/director Alex Garland (who also performed both duties on 2014's 'EX MACHINA'). It's about a biologist who volunteers to lead an expedition into a dangerous environmental zone, after her husband comes out of the zone seriously injured, and the sole survivor of his expedition. It's based on the novel, of the same name, by Jeff VanderMeer. The film stars Natalie Portman, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Gina Rodriguez, Tessa Thompson, Tuva Novotny and Oscar Isaac. It's gotten nearly unanimous positive reviews from critics, but it also performed really poorly at a test screening (which prompted a Netflix release overseas, instead of a theatrical one). I think the film is a very dark and bizarrely beautiful sci-fi masterpiece, and I can also see why a lot of people won't like it.
A year has passed since a team of soldiers entered an environmental disaster zone, and never returned. One soldier, named Kane (Isaac), suddenly reappears, much to the desperate relief of his biologist wife Lena (Portman), but he doesn't remember where he's been or how he got home. Then he has a sudden medical emergency, and is rushed to a hospital. In an attempt to help him, Lena decides to join a team of all female scientists, on an expedition back into the environmental zone. Things of course don't go as planned.
The movie is very hauntingly beautiful, and it's especially highlighted by an awesomely haunting score, and some breathtaking visuals. The story is interesting, but it's definitely slow-paced, and the climax is much more of an intellectual payoff than a spectacular action scene (which many viewers might be hoping for). So I can definitely see why some people would hate this film, but I loved it. It's one I definitely won't forget anytime soon too, and it's great to see Natalie Portman (my old favorite actress) back in top form!