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ANNIHILATION

ANNIHILATION

Alex Garland · USA · 2018 · 115 mins · 18A
IMDbRotten Tomatoes

Natalie Portman squares off against an alien presence in a rare example of Hollywood sci-fi-horror thoughtfulness. It starts with a meteor crashing into a lighthouse, and widens into a government secret called Area X. You pass through the “Shimmer” into a zone where time stops, compasses spin out and the beaches sprout crystal trees. This visually rapturous, unsettling movie, derives from a serious piece of sci-fi writing, Jeff VanderMeer’s Nebula-winning 2014 novel of the same name.

Cellular biologist Lena (Natalie Portman) learns she’s on a covert mission, alongside an all-female squad of heavily armed soldiers led by Dr. Ventress (Jennifer Jason Leigh). Why all women? That’s part of “Annihilation”’s mystery, which comes into focus amid the swampy, shifting, pink-fogged terrain beyond the Shimmer—a place with a mind of its own. (Maybe it’s a county over from the Zone of Andrei Tarkovsky’s classic 1979 brood-a-thon, Stalker.) Alex Garland (“Ex Machina”)’s creeping pace lulls you on an almost molecular level; he’s made something akin to an end-of-the-world film, but one in which the changes afoot might not be wholly bad, title be damned. --Time Out New York
“As gorgeous as it is disturbing, and that's a powerful combination.” Arizona Republic
“An atom bomb of a movie, fiery and all-consuming and quite unnatural. It fills every inch of our heads with its beautiful terrors.” NPR
Cast Natalie Portman, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Tessa Thompson
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