“Annihilation” quick review A surreal and disturbing sci-fi about cancer

“Annihilation” is a film about cancer. But it’s not the sentimental drama or romantic tragedy about terminal illness. “Annihilation” wants us to question what would happen if the earth itself had cancer, and specifically analyzes women’s responses to such a phenomenon. Each character has some sort of connection with the disease, and therefore each one has a different response to the “shimmer.” Ultimately and as expected, it’s Lena (Natalie Portman) who goes the farthest – for love. You’ll see the ending coming a mile away, but it’s not the point.

Lena (Natalie Portman) is menaced by an other-wordly creature in “Annihilation.” (Paramount Pictures)

 

Portman, Jennifer Jason-Leigh, Tessa Thompson and Gina Rodriguez all shine in their respective roles, betraying and uniting each other throughout the movie. Now let’s talk about the technical elements that make up this film…wow. It’s been a very long time since I’ve seen something so revolting and appealing at the same time. Two sequences illustrate the eccentric nature and perverted story within “Annihilation”: one will disturb you to no end, the other will make you question if you took LSD beforehand.

The soundtrack also helps to eerie atmosphere, even though it is hopping on the bandwagon of “weird sounds for a soundtrack” trend. I was also disappointed to see that this is based off of a novel that is the first of a trilogy, because “Annihilation” doesn’t want you to seek answers. Just stay in the mystery and let it consume you.

 

The Verdict…

Definitely not for the squeamish - this is a hard-R film for one extremely gory scene in particular.
  • 10/10
    Absolutely fantastic sequence near the end - 10/10
  • 9/10
    Brilliant dialogue about suicide vs. self-destruction - 9/10
  • 7/10
    Predictable ending, but fun road getting there - 7/10
  • 5/10
    Slow pace works sometimes, other times doesn't - 5/10
7.5/10
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