While the rest of your friends continue to be infatuated with Black Panther, seeing it for the third or fourth time with their Movie Pass, consider seeing something a little different. Annihilation can best be described as a cinematic experience, one of those movies made to be seen in a theater. So, if you plan on waiting until the digital release to watch it, think again.
This experience presents itself when the characters enter The Shimmer, an alteration of space-time where the laws of nature are constantly reinventing themselves. The sound design, the powerful and emotional scoring, the color pallet, and the stunning visuals all work in harmony to immerse us in this altered-state bubble. You can’t help but check Google Maps when you leave, to see if a real-life version of The Shimmer is currently swallowing up the American South. It feels real.
The fatalistic themes of the film are much in line with component of European Cinema, than “contemporary science-fiction”. Annihilation is in many ways, a refreshing break from those effect-heavy films with nothing more than a bullet point outline for a story. While the visuals of the film are stunning, especially in the altered-state of reality that is the Shimmer; the story and characterization are solid.
This is a film about the perpetual cycle of birth, destruction, and rebirth which defines existence. It is about evolution – of ecosystems, of humankind, and of individual – and the destructive and competitive selection that is evolution. The film is about people and our own self-destructive tendencies, and the process of confronting our self-destruction and imperfections. It’s is a visual representation of our feeble lives and coming to terms with our own eminent destruction.
Simply stated, the film is beautiful. It is the type of movie which stays with you long after leaving the theater. Natalie Portman, plays a headstrong and complex character, recklessly charging into the unknown to save her husband and her marriage; but what she is really seeking to save is herself, while trying find a way to forgive herself for her own transgressions.
I was disappointed to some degree, though. The film was made out by many to be a “mind trip,” and I didn’t really think that was the case. While the film is complicated and intelligent, requiring the audience to pay attention to some details of biology and advanced physics – it is not a “mind trip” in that way that a film like 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) is. So, if you are in the mood for a film with endless ambiguity, and vastly unexplained portions of the story, you might be slightly disappointed. The pacing is deliberate, and most of the questions are answered upon conclusion, and I do wonder how the film will hold up after multiple viewings.
If you are looking for something different and intriguing, something cinematically beautiful and bold, then look no further than this one.