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Review: Annihilation (English)


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Posted 05/03/2018 by

I don’t know

That’s probably what the executive producers said when they were thinking about a worldwide release for Annihilation, but what we were thinking as well after having watched this movie. And with the newest scifi movie by Ex Machina director Alex Garland, that’s not a bad thing at all!

PSA: The trailer above might spoil some bits!

Twelve months after the unexplainable disappareance of her husband Kane (Oscar Isaac), an emotionally devastated biologist Lena (Natalie Portman) tries to get her life back on track. Suddenly, Kane – while in rough shape and suffering from amnesia – resurges. Not long after, he collapses and Lena and her husband are being taken to a secret government base.

Here Lena gets to know more of Kane’s condition and the mysterious cause of his injuries, “The Shimmer”, a contained and ever expanding area. A team of female experts, with Lena as a volunteer, goes on an expedition to research this “Area X”, but what they find there, defies any logic or reason…

The director of the magnificent Ex Machina (2015) did it again. Alex Garland might not offer the most loyal adaptation of the first book in Jeff VanderMeer’s Southern Reach series, but does deliver once again an interesting and “smart” scifi movie.

Other than the source material with a clear environmental meaning, Garland focusses on a more personal and human story. Particular attention, yet subtly, goes to themes like cancer, losing those close to you and suicide – themes and emotions all brought to life wonderfully by a stellar cast containing Natalie Portman, Oscar Isaac and Tessa Thompson (Thor: Ragnarok).

In an age of blockbusters and a uniform landscape of cinema, Annihilation dares to ask the audience’s attention and to introduce questions without offering clear-cut answers. The whole concept and the visually and auditory bombastic finale, especially, might not be entirely explainable by the end of the movie, but notably because of that it encourages people to think.

Does the film have a philosophical meaning? A religious message? Or a scientific explanation? Perhaps Annihilation has all of the above and that’s what makes it refreshing. That doesn’t mean this profound study of life doesn’t contain any action or horror. That’s exactly how the heavy themes stay digestible.


Garland’s second film is – as Ex Machina was in 2015 – a surprising and magnificent scifi gem. The story, realized by some great actors and actresses, is mysterious, stimulating and deep, yet at the same time terrifying and exciting. We choose to remain vague in this review, because this movie deserves to be seen without any foreknowledge and spoilers, but in the end Annihilation is one of the best “smart” scifi movies of the past years. 

Annihilation is available on 12th March on Netflix.




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