Annihilation is a movie that should allow you to switch off, but it’s so cerebral you can’t help but switching on to 11, you become highly receptive to everything that is going on in this stunning picture, both good and bad.
Of course it’s also beautiful and brilliant and the premise is wonderfully cerebral, but much like the surface layer of the movie itself, my personal view of the movie is unfortunately dark.
To be clear: it’s an excellent movie but…
…I also feel that it lays bear the creator’s deep-seeded distrust and hate for women thickly disguised as intersectional feminism. More on this later.
The tough part here is that it’s virtually impossible to discuss the elements of the story without spoiling the whole damn thing (part of its brilliance) and we cannot deny the effective and important and excellent casting. While this movie is meant to be a vehicle for Natalie Portman, the one who steals it (and hopefully will get an Oscar nod next year) is Jennifer Jason Leigh who plays this stoic government administrator clothed in immense governmental power, hellbent on getting to the impact point of the meteorite that has caused the shimmer, without ever raising her voice above a whisper. She is such a damn good and talented actor.
Visually the film is stunning and I have heard some reviews that compare it to Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey and I don’t think that does it justice. It’s different, maybe even better, if different was refracted into better (see the movie, that will make more sense).
But the female characters sadly conform or succumb to common negative female stereotypes with the sole holdout being eliminated way too early on in the movie. They never coalesce as a team, and stick to tropes like “uncontrollable female emotions,” a desire to maintain a romantic relationship with a man, failing, and judging oneself for it, cutting, manipulating men, etc…The thing is, it’s difficult to say who is the one displaying their inherent distrust of women in this film? The director? The writer? The original author of the book? I’m not pointing fingers at any one person, but I am saying it’s there and worth noting.
If you can get past that stuff and focus on the larger plot, then good, because the larger plot is just sublime.
I wish I could say more about it, but this is one movie where you simply give too much away talking about anything that occurs after the five minute mark.
And that’s why I recommend it.
The machine guns do seem kinda silly though…so if you’re not into that, I would still recommend Black Panther.