Natalie Portman in Annihilation
[Image: Paramount Pictures]

‘Annihilation’

 

Director: Alex Garland

 

Starring: Natalie Portman, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Gina Rodriguez, Tessa Thompson, Tuva Novotny, Oscar Isaac

 

Rating: R

 

4.5 (Out Of 5) Globes

 

 

Plot: Lena (Natalie Portman) is a biologist mourning the disappearance and supposed death of her husband Kane (Oscar Isaac) when he suddenly returns home only to immediately fall gravely ill. Kane is then whisked back to the top secret environmental disaster zone where he originally fell ill. 

 

Soon after their arrival Lena decides to enter this incredibly dangerous area alongside Dr Ventress (Jennifer Jason Leigh), Anya (Gina Rodriguez), Cass (Tuva Novotny), and Josie (Tessa Thompson) to look for a cure. 

 

But almost immediately the group are confronted by mental and biological obstacles, as well as some terrifying creatures, too.

Review: “Annihilation” wants to challenge its audience. It teases answers rather than hammering them home, possesses large doses of scientific jargon that you have to battle to keep up with and features one of the most audacious, testing and visually arresting conclusions in modern movie history.  

 

It also makes huge demands of its viewers, so much so that it is bound to be divisive. But if you trust the film, allow it to provoke and bask in the loose threads and questions that it asks then “Annihilation” will prove to be one of the most exhilarating films of the year. 

 

Rather than, like so many of its peers, meekly treading the same ground as sci-fi classics, it generates its scares and creates its haunting air in a much more complex and experimental fashion. This makes it sparkle with an originality and intensity that constantly has you on guard.

 

Sure, parts of “Annihilation” bring to mind “Alien” and “2001: A Space Odyssey.” But it is teeming with so many ideas that it manages to blend elements of these films together while always remaining strikingly inventive and idiosyncratic. 

 

With the disaster zone that the characters enter, Alex Garland creates a disorientating, chaotic, terrifying but all the while gorgeous world. He punctuates moments of beauty and calm with jolts of terror and creepy imagery and set-pieces that stick with you, while its conclusion is beyond description and just needs to be experienced. Ideally on the biggest screen you can find. 

 

“Annihilation” is particularly riveting because of its cast. Natalie Portman is imperious in the lead role, and the film is drastically enhanced by the sterling supporting work from Jennifer Jason Leigh, Gina Rodriguez, Tessa Thompson and Tuva Novotny, each of whom are fearless, crazy, weak, wide-eyed, forceful, and dynamic when required. 

 

“Annihilation” won’t be for everyone. But those of you that get caught up its majesty and are left haunted, challenged, moved and beguiled by its sumptuous concoction of horror and sci-fi will quickly return to it again and again. Because “Annihilation” has all the ingredients to be a bona-fide sci-fi classic.