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“Annihilation” Is A Mind-Bending Masterpiece

February 28, 2018

Poster courtesy of Paramount Pictures

Poster courtesy of Paramount Pictures

Poster courtesy of Paramount Pictures

Reviewing the movie Annihilation is no easy task. How do I write about such a complicated and mind-bending film without giving spoilers, but still sharing enough to spark the interest of potential viewers?

Well, let me start by listing some words that other reviewers have used to describe the movie: thriller, fantasy, sci-fi, creepy, freaky, bloody, gross, a muddle, stunning, horror, exciting, enigmatic, ambitious, and strange.

Intrigued yet? Here are the basics. Lena, a professor of cellular biology and a former U.S. Army soldier, joins an all-female unit heading into a area covered by a strange, translucent-like substance which they dub the “Shimmer.” Lena (played by Natalie Portman) is in a desperate effort to find answers the mystery of why her husband, who had been missing for six months after a visit to the mysterious area, suddenly reappears.

Like I said, going into this film I really didn’t know anything besides watching a small bit of one preview, and I’m really glad I didn’t. This was one of the strangest, craziest films I’ve ever watched on the big screen.

And that’s exactly how this film should be experienced: In the movie theater. Just watching it on a large screen pulls you in and absorbs you into a mind-bending world. And the world these characters are placed in, and the movie itself as a whole, are very similar in aspect.

Annihilation is colorful, beautiful, unique, terrifying, eerie, and unsettling. The soundtrack–  haunting and unsettling, yet mesmerizing– adds to the tension and general creepiness. Listening to the soundtrack in surround sound through the entire theater is an incredible feeling, and I’d pay to see the film again just to hear the soundtrack blast through the movie theater speakers once more.

The visuals for this film, just like the soundtrack, are pretty much flawless. The CGI and special effects put on screen look fantastic and add so much beauty to an already colorful world as well as to the sheer brutality of what lies underneath it all.

This is most definitely a thinking film. Lots and lots of things happen that make this is one film with no easy or clear answers, so Annihilation definitely lends itself to being seen more than once to be appreciated. It raises intriguing questions and is chock full of metaphors, symbols, and allusions, leaving viewes with a multitude of possible theories to explain what you’ve just seen. After watching it recently, my friend and I talked for two days straight dissecting what the ending meant and trying to make sense of the rest of the film.

Clearly, if you are someone who likes your movies to make total sense and have neat little resolutions, this film is not for you.

But if you like seeing movies that intrigue you and show you things you haven’t seen before, I thoroughly encourage you to see this masterpiece of a film. It’s not doing particularly well at the box office so far, which is a shame. Few movies like this come along to push the limits of the film industry. This flick is intelligent and insanely well-crafted, filled with powerful performances, a flawless score and special effects, mind-blowing visuals, and a plot that will  going deeper than most films do.

I give Annihilation a 10 out of 10.

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