Annihilation might be an enigma to many. It’s marketed like a Nolan film but with the budget, Annihilation doesn’t give away much other than the fact that there’s a foreign threat that could be alien. Going in dark to this film is preferred because watching the story unravel is a spectacle. From 2nd time writer/director, Alex Garland, we are given a science fiction to marvel at with incredible imagery and fantastic narrative. The former is to be expected of; Garland is prolific in writing notable sci-fi films. However, his evolution as a director with a bigger budget is admirable as he doesn’t lose sight of the goal he’s trying to attain. Chalk Annihilation up as a film everyone will have a strong opinion about and one that will have longevity in the world of sci-fi films.
A narrative master-craft where the core story is told but is enriched by the details within the senses, each narrative is remarkable. Annihilation is the thinking man’s sci-fi and a movie that will have a similar fate to Ex Machina. Thankfully, this movie has a vastly different flavor but one with just as much to savor. Garland’s directorial choices have much more style than Ex Machina; this movie is a pure feast of imagery. The appeal to the senses is done well and helps communicate the more subtle details that enhance the film.
What I appreciate from the sophomore director is his blend of scene and exposition. In a film that’s an adaptation of a novel with so much to explain and integrates both aspects into one another when necessary.. It gives each central character some weight to the situation and to their calling to the mission. There are at least three particular scenes that were stunning captured and the exposition is thoroughly interesting. There’s a lot to cover in a film that barely hits a two-hour run-time, each character has something that grounds them to their world and situation and watching the narrative unfold and how they react is very satisfying even when the framing of the film might hit generic territory. It never feels generic and Garland subvert these could-be underwhelming moments by attempting to frame them more rationally rather than have them come out as cliché.
Annihilation has wild and remarkable imagery and a great plot, most technical aspects are handled very well so the due diligence of performances needs to sell the film and it does. The cast does a solid job, there wasn’t necessarily one performance that stood out rather each actor/actress has a moment or two to shine or exhibit their noteworthy moment. It works perfectly to help realize the film but is nothing tremendous but it doesn’t have to be. Annihilation works best when Garland gets to tell the story the way he wants to.
Even when pondering about lingering questions, you find an answer so long as you were paying attention. Every actor does a fine job in their respective roles and the characters have enough personality to where you’re invested in their endeavor. There’s very little wrong with this film, even the balance between exposition and scene is great, though there often much exposition but none of it boring. Annihilation is arduous film to review because so much of its strengths go into examining the film at more than a surface level: essentially spoilers. If you like films that make you think, well-crafted cinema, or deep discussion films then Annihilation is certainly worth your time. For me it’s something I’m not sure is worth my strongest recommendation (yet) but I can definitely say that you’ll see this one my top films of 2018 because it’s earned it.