Annihilation of the Alex Garland | Review


Published on Mar 13, 2018


The science fiction film western of the twenty-first century can be divided into two macro-branches.

There is the socio-political of the south african/canadian Neil Blomkamp (class ’79), who, with his triptych of works (District 9, Elysium, Humandroid) as no one else has been able to tell racial differences and class divisions that desperately in our society.

Then there is the other branch of modern science fiction, the sophisticated, poetic, philosophical. To the Sunshine, Not to Leave me, to Ex Machina. One of Alex Garland. And director born in london in ’70 with the Annihilation is back on the scene after a three year absence to reiterate the concept.

Based on the homonymous novel by Jeff VanderMeer, the film tells the story of the exploration of the mysterious Area X by a group of biologhe, headed by Lena (Natalie Portman): of all the soldiers previously sent to the area of the alien only to the husband of Lena, Kane's (Oscar Isaac) is able to go back, but it is seriously ill. Together with his colleagues (among which stand out the nominated to academy award Jennifer Jason Leigh, and the Valkyrie of the Marvel Universe Tessa Thompson), Lena will venture into Area X to discover its secrets and find a cure for her husband.

There is immediately clear that, although here, the vision of Garland is still widespread and ambitious than in the intimate Ex Machina, the talent overflowing from this extraordinary author allows Annihilation to touch the peaks of the high for the genre, the peaks that had remained untouched for several years: probably a masterpiece, sure to be an instant cult, the second film of the Alex Garland is the result of the inexplicable and unrepeatable union of three between the Kubrick of 2001: a Space Odyssey, the Coppola of Apocalypse Now and Andrei Tarkovsky Solaris. If these three absolute masterpieces in the history of cinema could give birth in some way unknown and alien to a son of celluloid, that son would be Annihilation.

Contemplative, visually satisfying (the photo of images of Rob Hardy goes hand in hand with the CGI, just perfect), profoundly dark on Netflix is forbidden to minors of 14 years), able to alternate scenarios psychedelic compositions artistically challenging (trees, crystal, monsters, skeletal, plants-men) going at the same time atmospheres intellectuals to the sequences of a violence that is shocking that wink to the first Alien by Ridley Scott (the group of scientists here is the dress in the same way, compared to those of aliens: Covenant), Annihilation speaks to us of the human being, of his duality (back to that theme) its ability to self-destruct, the heart of darkness that lurks in each of us, and does so with a power film very rare (the last quarter of an hour, during which Garland is devoid of dialogues and employs only his visual talent, is breathtaking).

The journey of Lena and company towards the lighthouse also becomes a parable for the ecological and spiritual, as well as a reflection on the vital importance of understanding the different. Another key theme of the film is the change, intended to times as degeneration (cellular, psychological), other times as a potential way forward. Everything is in being able to conceive (and accept) the worlds/realities/cultures different from that to which we are accustomed, to the point of believing that it is the only one possible.

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