Wednesday, 14 March 2018

Annihilation (2018)

Though I didn't really like Alex Garland's Ex Machina (but I'm planning on giving it another chance), I was really excited about his latest film, Annihilation, and really pissed off that everybody outside of the US got to see this on Netflix instead of cinemas. It has an upside though, no money wasted if the movie sucked, but that was not the case. 

A year after his disappearance, Kane (Oscar Isaac) goes back home to his biologist wife Lena (Natalie Portman) but he doesn't remember where he's been and how he got home. He suddenly gets sick and is rushed to a hospital. Once there, in order to help Kane, Lena joins a team made up of an anthropologist (Tuva Novotny), a physicist (Tessa Thompson), a psychologist (Jennifer Jason Leigh) and a paramedic (Gina Rodriguez) and embark on an expedition into the Shimmer, a mysterious electromagnetic field.

It's a pretty simple plot that unfolds at a quite slow pace, it does have a few twists here and there but nothing that mind-blowing to leave you speechless, the final twist included which I saw coming miles ahead. There are many plot holes, several unnecessary subplots and nothing makes sense basically since nobody really cared about answering the questions posed. And yet it's engaging and very enjoyable.

The characters too are flawed but they all have interesting backstories --revealed through flashbacks or a few lines of dialogue--, they are developed and we get to know each main character both emotionally and psychologically. Sure, most of the things they do don't make any sense (above-mentioned plot holes) but it's still fascinating watching them in the Shimmer, how they react to the weird and bizarre happenings and I was invested in the characters' fates.

Paramount Pictures, Netflix
Natalie Portman gives a very good performance as Lena. She is able to deliver, at every moment, complex emotions only through her facial expressions, she carries the whole film and gives it its emotional charge. The support provided by Jennifer Jason Leigh and Tessa Thompson is pretty solid too, and Oscar Isaac gives yet another great performance. I did find, however, Gina Rodriguez and her character utterly annoying. She is miles away from Jane Villanueva, the role she is most known for, and I give her credit for playing such a different role here, fact remains she was annoying.

As for Alex Garland, while his script hasn't won me completely, I liked his direction. He skillfully built tension and suspense and delivered an exciting science-fiction film enhanced by a magnetic score and even more magnetic visuals.

10 comments :

  1. I really liked this too, and I'm bummed everyone else didn't get to see it on the big screen. It was so good.

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    1. It was such a stupid move in my opinion.

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  2. I liked it more than you did but yeah that one plot hole...I was appalled. A shame they didn't have bigger budget because it was clear they could have spent more on CGI

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    1. That's true but it didn't turn out bad so I'm good with it.

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  3. I do want to see this as it was playing in my local multiplex (until maybe this coming weekend) as I really want to but I don't have the time to see it at the moment. I just hope it comes on TV or on DVD later this year. Oh, and fuck Netflix for not giving people outside of the U.S. the chance to see it in the cinemas where movies are supposed to be seen. Not in some big-screen TV.

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    1. I hope you get to see this. Anyway, yeah, fuck Netflix! I love them but come on! This is the kind of movie that needs to be seen on the big screen. Or at least people deserve that option.

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  4. Honestly I get why they wouldn’t show this in the cinema everywhere else (numbers) but this deserves to be seen on cinemas. The effects of the film would engulf the viewers that way. It’s hard to feel all the emotions the movie wants us to feel when you’re just watching it on a laptop or tv or phone. I gave it the same rating as you, but I really wanted to love it more. The ending is kind of predictable in a way that if you’ve seen Ex Machina, there’s a slight chance he was going to pull something similar in its ending. It also reminded me a bit of Enemy, though it might have been the score that accompanied the film.

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    1. I get that to but it just isn't fair.

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  5. Mi è piaciuto. Garland si conferma autore interessante e sensibile, dopo l'ottimo esordio di Ex-machina. Fantascienza adulta e riflessiva, "vecchio stile", che ti fa ragionare sul presente e sulla malattia. Perchè "Annientamento" è in fin dei conti proprio un film sulla malattia e il coraggio di affrontarla... peccato non poterlo vedere al cinema!

    p.s. complimenti per la nuova impaginazione del blog: molto più essenziale e di miglior impatto visivo

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    1. Mi fa piacere sapere che è piaciuto anche a te! Forse poteva spiegare un po' meglio in certi punti però complessivamente è un buon film.

      Grazie mille!

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