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Movie review by David Blackwell

115 minutes, Rated R
STUDIO: Paramount Pictures/ Skydance Media/ DNA Films
Theatrical RELEASE DATE: 2-23-2018
Lena (Natalie Portman) is a biologist who believes her husband Kane (Oscar Isaac) is dead after he disappeared 12 months ago after he went off on a secret mission. Suddenly, he appears home; and Lena and her husband are taken by government men (part of a government organization known as Southern Reach) on the way to the hospital after he has sudden health problems. Lena learns her husband was part of a previous expedition into a growing alien zone known as the Shimmer which started when something alien hit a lighthouse in a United States national park. Kane is the only member of any expedition that has returned from the Shimmer. Lena volunteers to be part of the next team because she wants to find something that prevents her husband from dying. The next team is lead by Dr. Ventress (Jennifer Jason Leigh) and Lena learns everyone on the team is damaged by something in their life. Once they enter the Shimmer, they find mutations, doubles, and an alien intelligence that may not even understand them (or is aware of them).

ANNIHILATION is an ambiguous and challenging sci-fi movie. It is an exploration of the characters on the team and the landscape that is changing into something alien. Alex Garland adapts and directs this movie which is based on the novel by Jeff VanderMeer. If you want an interesting sci-fi movie that provides no easy answers, this movie is for you. It shares common DNA with novels like Solaris by Stanislaw Lem (and the film adaptations by Andrei Tarkovsky and Steven Soderbergh) and movies like ARRIVAL and STALKER. It poses the question of how can we deal with something so alien that it appears to be a threat to us and can we understand it. It is interesting to see a team of female characters which is different from sending an all male or almost all male team into the alien unknown. Alex Garland provides unique stories to other movies like 28 DAYS LATER, SUNSHINE, and EX MACHINA (which he also directed). His movies are about characters and ideas that don't focus on the next big action sequences that populate so many sci-fi blockbusters. I find ANNIHILATION to be one of the better sci-fi films of this year and even the 21st century. I can't wait to see what Alex Garland does for his next project (which is likely to be an eight episode series for FX Networks).

This movie review is (c)2-27-2018 David Blackwell and cannot be reprinted without permission. Send all comments to feedback@enterline-media.com and look for additional content at http://enterlinemedia.tumblr.com