Title: Annihilation Director: Alex Garland Year: 2018 Run time: 1hr 55m
“When her husband vanishes during a secret mission, biologist Lena joins an expedition into a mysterious region sealed off by the U.S. government.”
5:24 - Another crazy big American house. 8:44 - I’m slightly concerned that she has only painted half a wall now. 13:03 - “Why am I talking to a psychologist?” Questions you never want to ask. 16:15 - A shimmer sounds alright, but from now on it’s a word that strikes fear into the heart! 19:05 - “We see ageing as a natural process but it’s actually a fault in our genes.” 27:12 - Soldier-scientist. Like Doctor-Donna but different. 28:09 - They look just like Ghostbusters! 32:12 - Like that sun-south trick, I’ll never remember it but it’s a good one. 49:39 - Fascinating so far. Worry there won’t be answers. 54:34 - “These aren’t decisions, they’re impulses.” 1:06:40 - Talk of refraction makes me wish I’d paid attention in physics. 1:17:28 - Well that was all intensely unnecessary. It’s all gone a bit Kong. 1:27:59 - It feels like a really big lighthouse. 1:42:27 - Genius. 1:44:41 - Hearing voices again is weird.
This was an exciting film to watch mostly because it was released on the Monday and my review is going up less than a week later - hooray for Netflix! I know that a film being released on Netflix as an alternative to the usual methods means it’s probably had some issues or not been considered good enough, but I actually thought this one stood up really well.
It looked absolutely stunning. The visual effects were incredible, although mostly subtle until the ending. It was a bit scary, a bit gory, but not too much of one or the other which makes a nice change in a film of this sort. I also liked how the mood varied, sometimes it was your classic war film where troops are going through the jungle hoping to survive, but others it was an arty visual feast with music and no words. At the end, when the human started talking again, it really did feel odd.
I can’t decide if the ending was a disappointment or not. It felt like it made logical sense, although there are naturally some questions left unanswered, but I wasn’t left ranting and raving and in a LOST-like funk. But on the flip side, I felt like it was building to something a bit bigger - we’ve seen Alex Garland do this ending before, it wasn’t quite the ending that the rest of the film deserved.
An intriguing film, a curiosity that is worth watching even if it doesn’t quite deliver on the promise.