Release Date: February 23, 2018
Cast: Natalie Portman, Oscar Isaac, Tessa Thompson, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Gina Rodriguez, Tuva Novotny
Director: Alex Garland
Studio: Skydance Media
Distributor: Paramount Pictures (US) Netflix (Rest of the world)
IMDB | Rotten Tomatoes | Wikipedia

Spoilers: Mild

Alex Garland is back with another stellar sci-fi outing. 

When Lena’s husband returns from a mysterious mission she is pulled into an expedition into the unknown. As a scientist, she can’t help herself but pursue that mystery to whatever end it may lead.
Annihilation is an impressive film. Through the story, visuals, and perhaps most importantly sound, Garland has crafted an incredibly tight and tense 115-minute thrill ride. And much like Garland’s other work, Ex Machina, it opens up many questions but never attempts to write the answer bold across the screen. It is built to send audiences out into the world with the closing credits thinking, mulling over what they just watched. With segments harkening back to 2001: A Space Odyssey, it is clear the kind of sci-fi Annihilation and Garland is working for.
That feeling that they create, it is perhaps the closest to a truly Lovecraftian sense I have experienced in a movie. The unexplained, the strange, the weird, the threat of madness. All of it weaves so wonderfully through these alien and yet all too familiar landscapes as our group navigate the mysterious Shimmer and what lies within. We are on Earth, not some far off derelict mining ship in space, and yet we know there is something… unnatural lurking in these swamps. And so we follow these scientists, stalking through the growth waiting to find out just what is happening and why.
The action that occurs is believable, grounded, never over the top or incredulous enough to shake the realism. There’s enough weirdness in the dreamlike Shimmer.
As an adaption of a book, it, of course, moves off in its own direction in various ways. I can’t speak to them, as I haven’t yet read the book (though now I am eagerly awaiting its delivery from Amazon). I can only address this movie individually, not as an adaption, not as the first in a possible series (as the book is a part of a trilogy, Annihilation being the first part). 
Annihilation is another astounding film from Garland and I expect it to be looked on as a masterwork for years to come. It is unfortunate that distributors got spooked by test screenings calling it too intellectual and dropped it from being distributed elsewhere in the world as this movie needs to be seen on the biggest screen, with the loudest speakers available. Good on Netflix for picking it up for the rest of the world, but it will no doubt hurt the movies appeal to those who watch it on their phones or laptops.
If you’re in the U.S. and you enjoy sci-fi get out and see this movie in the loudest theater near you. It’s a helluva treat.

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