Annihilation is a science fiction horror film by Alex Garland; the man behind Ex Machina. Annihilation follows a team of scientists led by Lena, (Natalie Portman) as they explore the shimmer: an area of land that has been overrun by a strange alien sphere. The script I found to be quite a mixed bag, with Tessa Thompson’s Josie, Jennifer Jason Leigh’s Dr Ventress and the before mentioned Lena being the only memorable characters. With Josie, in particular, being instantly likeable and relatable, also being well developed. However, this strong character development doesn’t reach all the cast members as most are underdeveloped: this is shown by Gina Rodriguez’s Anya. Anya is never really developed as a character, which then makes certain actions committed by her later in the film come across a little unbelievable. Natalie Portman gives a satisfyingly strong performance as Lena: as we see her become driven to find out what happened to her husband; played marvellously by Oscar Isaac. The film is visually stunning throughout, from the costume design to the creatures that inhabit the sphere: including a nightmare-inducing mutant bear. Said bear and the other creature that live inside the sphere are all very well designed; with them all being both beautiful and unique. My only real issue came from the ending, which was a little too ambiguous for my taste; with the plot twists at the end not really adding much outside of making it a bit more confusing. Furthermore, the ending doesn’t come across as satisfying more as a bit pretentious; as though the film is trying to remind you one last time just how clever it is. Other than that though this is a very strong science fiction film; I got notes throughout the film of other similar films, such as 2016’s Arrival to name but one. There is more than enough here to get genre fans very on board with this film. One closing note I would like to bring up is that cinematography is exquisite: with one shot from the inside of a crocodiles mouth being my favourite of the film. Overall, I would recommend this film, though perhaps not to casual science fiction fans. It’s just a shame about the needlessly pretentious ending.
Reviewed by Luke

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