Director Alex Garland was publicly distraught at the lack of a worldwide cinematic release for his latest sci-fi venture Annihilation. Blocked by a change of management at Paramount, Annihilation was limited to a Netflix release outside of America, deemed too confusing for the majority of the public; a notion that seems not only insulting but downright wrong.
Lena (Natalie Portman) is haunted by the death of her partner, a soldier who went missing in ‘The Shimmer’, an alien wall that continues to expand across America. Desperate to discover what happened to her partner, Lena joins an expedition into ‘The Shimmer’ looking for anything that can give her the answers she is so desperate to discover.
Visually, Annihilation is breath-taking as its biological centre gives off a truly futuristic and mutated style. ‘The Shimmer’ is designed majestically with its colourful flow and it is these parts, that are so vital to the film, that feel wasted on a small screen. The impact just isn’t there, and it feels much like it can be seen but not felt.
The source novel was described as unfilmable, and Garland has proved the doubters wrong. There is such a strong emphasis within the film making it an engaging story with fantastic visuals, and Portman is allowed to run with her character, showing off her incredibly emotional yet powerful understanding of loss. There is a drive behind her character that acts as the film’s dynamo, and Garland lets that run wild. It’s a powerful film for so many reasons.
Annihilation should be a brilliant piece of modern sci-fi, but instead it feels like a wasted chance at showing off a truly great film. Garland has been massively let down, and hopefully understands that it is not him that has failed the film, but a money hungry corporation with no real understanding of what it takes to make a brilliant picture.