Directed by Alex Garland ("Ex Machina," "28 Days Later"), “Annihilation” stars Natalie Portman as Lena, a biologist and former soldier who winds up immersed in a mission to uncover what happened to her husband. Also a soldier, her husband’s last mission was tasked with entering Area X — a mysterious phenomenon that includes a shimmer that has encompassed a wide area.
When her husband returns and is visibly not himself, nor in great health, Lena refuses to stay on the sidelines and catapults herself into a group of women who are the next group set to explore the shimmering area.
Area-X looks similar to the rest of the landscape, but when examined closely, you can tell that there are spectacular mutations in everything from plant life to animals.
There are good and not so good moments of this film. The tension is great, there are moments of slight terror and even uneasiness. Oh, and the violence? It’s pretty gruesome, something that I wasn’t expecting. But the slow moments really seemed to drag on and made the film feel longer than it was.
Portman’s acting as a determined wife was great; she nailed all of her scenes. Adding to the tension are the sometimes dynamic outbursts and worries of the rest of the cast. But there were some holes in the plot.
Without giving away too much, there are scenes where Portman’s character is being interrogated that never fit well into the storyline to me. Those moments either could have been amped up a bit — more dramatic — or eliminated altogether. Either way, they made the film lag in exposition.
Is this a bad film? No. While it lacked in a few areas, there were some bright moments including some tender scenes with Tessa Thompson’s character about three-fourths of the way through.
If you’re interested, I’d say give it a shot. I’d love to hear your thoughts.