Cast: Natalie Portman, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Gina Rodriguez, Tessa Thompson and Tuva Novotny
Director: Alex Garland
Synopsis: A biologist signs up for a dangerous, secret expedition into a mysterious zone where the laws of nature don’t apply.
Before I started watching Annihilation I didn’t know what to expect. I had heard the hype at the beginning of the year, and knew that it had a kickass cast but this exceeded even my expectations.
While I am not usually a genre fan, especially if it has horror aspects, but the mystery in this kept me watching. It reminded me of Arrival in how the mystery grips the audience, and catches them off-guard.
The story centers around Lena (Natalie Portman) a biologist who volunteers for a dangerous mission in order to discover what is causing her husband’s (Oscar Isaac) illness. The story depicts all three acts with beautiful clarity and with allegories of self-destruction, depression and grief. But the final act of the film is the masterpiece – with the cinematography, the drama, the action.
The story moves between flashbacks to Lena’s life with her husband, the current expedition in the Shimmer, and the future where Lena is speaking to scientists about her experience and one can’t help but feel invested in each of the arcs, wanting to know the truth behind the mystery of the Shimmer, and what’s truly going on with Lena and her marriage.
With excellent performances by Natalie Portman and Jennifer Jason Leigh, you become transfixed in this world, but the true winners of this film are the cinematography and the storytelling.