The Mindf**k That is ‘Annihilation’

By Anthony Peyton, Edited by Olivia Norwood.

It’s difficult to decide where to begin with a movie that’s as much of mindbender as Annihilation. It’s incredibly complex and goes in so many completely different directions that it feels impossible to keep up. Usually a movie that has so many things going on at once is an absolute no for me, but Annihilation is an exception to that rule.

Natalie Portman (Black Swan, Jackie) plays the emotionally scarred Lena, who is suffering from the loss of her military husband who was killed in action. When she finds out that he never actually died in the first ten minutes of the movie, she is determined to discover exactly where he went and what happened to him

She comes to discover the thing that will haunt her nightmares for the rest of her life: The Shimmer.

The Shimmer is basically a giant forcefield of crazy, beautiful, constantly mutating, morbid objects and organisms that guide the plot of the film. Both Lena and husband Kane (Oscar Isaac) discover just how long it takes to lose who you are.

These two, along with several other cast members including Jennifer Jason Leigh, Gina Rodriguez, Tessa Thompson, and Tuva Novotny, do a brilliant job at conveying the story with minor mess-ups and awkward moments.

Annihilation 3
Courtesy of Skydance Media

The story itself has great meaning to it. When digging past the mutated alligators, the color-changing flowers, and the first hour and a half of trying to figure out what the hell is going on, you might be able to detect the true darkness that is buried underneath the greenery of The Shimmer.

Chances are, however, you probably won’t be able to see the meaning. This isn’t to say the movie is bad, because it is quite the opposite. Sometimes it is just simply harder to find meaning in such an incredibly complicated plot where every few minutes you question your knowledge about practically everything. All I have to say is major props to Jeff Vandermeer who managed to explain it so well in the 2014 novel.

This film, without a doubt, is so much more than the surface beauty it initially feels like you’re watching. It’s a complete annihilation of the human brain.
With a Certified Fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes (and a whopping 87%), Annihilation is not just a major blockbuster to gaze your eyes upon. It is a movie that you will have to rewatch twice, making an attempt each time to understand the jaw dropping ending that you definitely won’t understand on the first time around.

My Rating: 88.13%

Acting: 3.3/4

Cinematography: 3.8/4

Story: 3.5/4

Enjoyability: 3.5/4


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