The Joxer Film Review of Annihilation

Written and directed by Alex Garland [ Ex Machina ] and based on the novel by Jeff VanderMeer, Annihilation is a sci-fi, thriller, horror film, released through Paramount and stars Natalie Portman, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Gina Rodriguez, Tessa Thompson and Tuva Novotny in the main roles with Oscar Isaac in a supporting role.

The film is told in flashbacks and begins a year after a still grieving Lena’s [Portman] soldier husband [Isaac] has been missing in action, only for him to suddenly appear in her house a shadow of the man he once was and being secretive of where he has been and very elusive. he suddenly starts convulsing and as he and Lena are being rushed to hospital the ambulance is carjacked by military agents and Lena and her husband [near deaths door] awake to find themselves in a facility called Area X near something called The Shimmer, a mysterious entity that is slowly spreading across the land, of which nothing is known and no one has returned from..apart from Lena’s husband.

what mysteries lie within? Lena and a few scientific allies must head into The Shimmer to find out..

With sweeping mood swings and kaleidoscopic rainbow colours, this visually stunning dreamscope dimensional film will appease all fans of cerebral sci-fi with added doses of thriller and horror thrown in for good measure.

For it’s not only the species that mutates but the film itself as it slowly and methodically makes it’s way from one film genre to another with mesmerising mayhem and an atmospheric aura that keeps the audience captivated from beginning to end.

The film has nods to various films with a heavy dose of Denis Villeneuve’s Arrival, the original Alien franchise, Stephen King novels and Jurassic Park and even though Alex Garland aims high with his ideas for this film they hit more often than not as this film cleverly intertwines all the mutations within the story to bring us a wonderful poetic ballet of an ending that will leave the audience spellbound with it’s grace.

A thought provoking storyline doesn’t disappoint and with brilliant performances by the main cast especially Portman, Thompson [a very fast rising star] and Jennifer Jason Leigh as the curmudgeon commander, the film will linger in the mind long after the film has ended.

A future classic and a masterpiece of a movie, the mind boggles why Paramount panicked over it’s preview showings in America and shot it straight onto Netflix after it’s release across the pond failed to impress audiences that prefer the “pew pew pew” of Sci-Fi films and not intelligent, cerebral sci-fi.

It is a very ominous sign of things to come where films of this magnitude are shot to the sidelines and not seen on the big screen. A shocking display of ignorance on the part of the production company, it doesn’t bode well for the future of thought provoking film making that TWO recent releases [this and Mute] have gone straight to Netflix in the UK without a proper general release.Questions need to be raised and answers need to be given.

This magnificent, masterpiece of a movie needed to be seen on the biggest screen possible but don’t let that distract you from viewing it.

Sit back and enjoy the ride!

Joxer Film Rating

An exploding phosphorus grenade of a gem

5 stars



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