By David Zou
Profoundly unsettling and endlessly imaginative, Alex Garland’s Annihilation, adapted from the first book in Jeff VanderMeer’s brilliant best-selling “Southern Reach Trilogy” (2014), presents adventurous viewers with a frequently hypnotic and sporadically heady miscellany of grandiose ecological parable and nerve-racking survival tale in deep sci-fi accouterment.
Lena (Natalie Portman), a grieving biology professor and former U.S. Army soldier, is part of an all-female reconnaissance outfit sent into a top secret stretch of North American coast where something alien has altered the environment and nature has gone berserk; plantlife has grown into gorgeous and sinister floral forms and humanlike shapes; mutated beats, some seeming prehistoric, others like a Miyazaki fever dream, travel the timbers and marshlands down the coast.
This environmental territory, with startling shades of Chernobyl and Fukushima Daiichi, is in a frightening flux as its boundaries keep mushrooming. Lena and the rest of her unit, not at all the first reconnaissance team to lose their way trying to penetrate this strange southern zone, not only find that their GPS signals and other communications and tracking devices are affected by their environment, but also startlingly realize that their mental and emotional faculties are also socked in and uncertain.
The following list will detail, debate, and celebrate why it is that Garland’s second film as director ranks amongst the 21st century’s most mesmerizing and upsetting speculative fictions. Annihilation is a film that belongs on a very short list of incalculably ambitious, deeply thoughtful, teasingly ambiguous, hugely rewarding, and highly artistic sci-fi endeavors, standing shoulder to shoulder with lasting works like Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s World on a Wire (1973), and Andrei Tarkovsky’s Stalker (1979).
Annihilation is a world of weird fiction; of dead husbands and daughters, of doppelgängers, waking dreams, monstrous rogue bears capable of ghastly human mimicry, mutated hyacinths → continue…
From:: Taste Of Cinema