Oscar Isaac Explores The "Pain" With Natalie Portman In 'Annihilation'

Oscar Isaac Explores The

Alex Garland's Annihilation has just about everything a moviegoer could want. To be totally honest, as a result of that disharmony, I'm not entirely sure that Annihilation works. And it drops in effective jump-scares. What have we even been doing since we got to this place?

- Black Panther: The most radical blockbuster ever? Taking massive liberties with the popular 2014 novel by Jeff VanderMeer, Garland builds an enigmatic collection of half-realized thoughts and weighty themes about identity, self-destruction, and environmentalism. Lena, a former Army officer who now teaches biology at John Hopkins, knows nothing about the Shimmer... until Kane suddenly reappears and starts vomiting blood.

Her husband, Kane (Oscar Isaac), who disappeared on a secret military mission a year before, comes home as a almost catatonic, changed man. Geoff Barrow and Ben Salisbury's industrial-strength dissonant score uproots us (though it dips into quiet, acoustic tones for the truly shocking moments) while Mark Digby's production design and Rob Hardy's cinematography seem to always position us so that there is nowhere to plunge but deep into the most terrifying part of the landscape.

Beyond the Shimmer lie spoilers, but know that the film presents all the frights with a mesmerizing air that makes them more than just cheap thrills. There's Dr. Ventress (Jennifer Jason Leigh), the distant team leader, a psychologist, who has seen team after team disappear into Area X and needs to know what's in there for herself; Thorensen (Gina Rodriguez), an EMT with a history of addiction who is like a lit flame, always threatening to become a risky blaze; Radek (Tessa Thompson), a meek scientist with a history of self-abuse, and Sheppard (Tuva Novotny), the friendliest of the bunch, who harbors a dark truth of her own. It's Gina Rodriguez, however, who delivers the film's standout performance, mainly because it's such a departure from her goody-two-shoes character on "Jane the Virgin". Tuva Novotny plays Cass, an anthropologist. What she and the other researchers on the trek - paramedic Anya (Gina Rodriguez), physicist Josie (Tessa Thompson) and anthropologist Cass (Tuva Novotny) - discover on their journey involves a series of weird animal and plant mutations by turns lovely and terrifying. Things also get a little muddled heading into Annihilation's climax, but it's forgivable in a story so admirably confident in its outrageousness. They find horrifying evidence of the previous team's experience, which only deepens the mystery. Once inside, the expedition discovers a world of mutated landscape and creatures, as unsafe as it is handsome, that threatens both their lives and their sanity. Multi-coloured flowers of different species climb a tree trunk. The movie is simply her expedition and the realizations she makes as she ventures further and further into Area X, behind a phenomenon they've named "The Shimmer".

More news: Osmond won the bronze medal, and Canada beat its record of medals

The further the team explores, the more we see of each character's particular vulnerability. According to her, she may be the fearless queen, and later on, senator, of Naboo, but she also dies at the end while giving birth to twin children: Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia Organa. In flashback we learn that Lena's marriage was not as flawless as it seemed at the start. It was also a topic that Garland was particularly forthcoming about, too. There are scenes that evoke 2001, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Alien and any number of Terrence Malick films. Rob Hardy provides the handsome cinematography, while the score comes from Geoff Barrow and Ben Salisbury. It's the same question you deal with as an author, asking yourself where can I be surreal, where does the reader need an anchor? It helps that Garland writes interesting, capable female characters and casts an ensemble with the talent necessary to make the emotional side work.

Do you have a specific interpretation of the ending? This announcement came on the heels of rumor that the film tested poorly with audiences, and that the executive producers, Scott Rudin and David Ellison, disagreed with one another creatively. It's important to note that this confusing display of nature isn't annihilating anything; if anything it feels like the environment is reclaiming itself (strikingly similar aesthetically to the brilliant apocalyptic video game The Last of Us).

While the film's narrative thrust is unwavering, it's still depressingly easy to see why Paramount would worry for its box office chances.

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