When yοｕ ｓee ｂｅaｕty іn ｄｅｓｏlａｔion ｉt⁰сhanｇｅｓ soｍeｔhіｎg ⅰnｓⅰｄｅ yｏｕ. Ｄeｓоｌaｔⅰоｎ tｒiｅｓ tｏ cоlｏｎiｚe ｙｏu
Alex Garland in Ex Machina brought us a world of the megalomaniac human impulse to create: ultimately leading to obsession and extinction. And, in Annihilation, he does it again, this time from the internal flames of the desires and medical unpredictability that is the human condition. What we see in Garland’s second film is at moments absolutely brilliant. An on-screen/off-screen confluence of the branding of two disjunctive elements requiring us to probe the duality in our own conditions.
Two worlds: one flowing within the purview narrative of the intended author, controlled and methodical, changeable and compulsory, predictable and inevitable. And in the other, we see a glimmer of our own humanity in the confines of the self-destructive predilections of our own choosing and of our own design. In the end, what takes place, is destruction and the mold. Recreation, adaptation, and a picturesque setting of the vulnerability unto death/surrender versus a tendency towards survival for the sake of love.
To make simple: after the return of Lena’s husband, Natalie Portman’s character, along with a “damaged” crew of females, driven by the will for the restorative potential, enter the prism of uncertainty, driven purely by the force of two theories: self-destruction and renewal. There, inside, they each must face the challenge of forward progress and capitulation seeing now that the surrender, that some of them so desperately desire, could be all too naturally enjoyed in an environment made specific for the normative end-cycle of the human condition.
Some are taken, others are simply unfolded into the canvas of opportunity. The outcome of each drives the narrative within the narrative.
I won’t pretend to understand the extent of the film and its hidden qualities. The theme of cancer and its malignancy is central. Seeing it first hand speaks volumes about the physical and mental toll the spread inflicts and the twin nature of the battle. I don’t know the science well enough, but I’ve seen those who surrender and those who seem to resist the poisoning of the mind, and the dual world experience rings loud the depths in Annihilation. Those with a thorough background in the field will likely enjoy the film much more and in retrospect, if you have the patience and time, you can read a biography on the sickness before going in.
What I do know is the film is rich and layered. Distracting at times for the sake of entertainment with ineptitudes and horror, seemingly unfolding into a conclusion that forces a redeeming re-imagining, but offering more than enough introspective analysis to leave viewers in a state of unsettlement.
Without saying more, its worth the price of admission.