This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
Zachary⚡’s review published on Letterboxd:
This review may contain spoilers.
two comments that I found on the video above which pr. well encapsulate my interpretation on the movie
I feel like this is what an alien invasion would sound like, not some conventional war sounds like explosions, gunshots, or even laser pew pews, just peaceful ambience while the entire planet is demolished by monolithic unknowable intelligences that probably would view us the same way we view cockroaches, or maybe even less, maybe they wouldn’t even register us and just go about destroying everything we’ve built the same way we clear rocks and trees too make way for houses, they may not even need the planet for housing, and are just invading too collect genetic samples, I’m sorry I’m rambling, this song just makes me ponder about this stuff.
- Astoflo the sucker
“Almost none of us commit suicide, whereas almost all of us self-destruct. We drink, or take drugs, or destabilize the happy job – or happy marriage…But these aren’t decisions. They’re impulses. And in fact, as a biologist, you’re better placed to explain them than me.”
Annihilation composes this artful connection between the destructive nature of the universe and how people self-destruct impulsively. And I mean, that's cool and all, but the film gets so caught up in trying to say that message. I feel like a huge part of the argument is the contextual basis of the film, that being Natalie Portman's flashbacks (with alcohol and adultery = self destruction) juxtaposed with the surrealist sci-fi story (the island thingie). The contrast between the surrealist adventure and the flashbacks or essentially, the destructive tendencies of the universe and human self-destruction isn't as compelling. This is mostly because the flashbacks of self-destruction aren't as substantive as the surrealist adventure. In all honesty, moping around Oscar Isaac and Natalie Portman being depressed aren't as poignant as that final scene where an ominous figure tackles Natalie Portman to the ground in the most dreamiest fashion since Twin Peaks. If it made the more dramatic elements of the film more dramatic and more substantial, then this contrast would be fairly sound. At the end of the day, the contrast isn't a good of a sum of it's parts and unfortunately it weakens the overall argument of self-destruction. It quite frankly self-destructed to a mostly pretentious tangling of meaning and fancy rhetoric, yet never really having the conviction to form a controlled thesis.
Now is this a bad thing? Not necessarily. The surrealist adventure is engaging, it's legendarily fantastical and dreamy, the performances are great, Natalie Portman IS FUCKING FANTASTIC, etc. The dreamy atmosphere is soothing and very 2001-esque, and Natalie Portman is a fantastic female lead. It weakly presents it's thesis and it may not represent it's ideas in the most prim and proper dialect, but it's still fairly awesome.
Ex Machina did not have a uniform concept behind it, rather a mesh of influences, other concepts, and a mix of sci-fi pitches. Alex Garland may have not improved his mushy story-telling, but Annihilation is still fairly engaging and interesting to watch.
STRONG 3 STARS