|Two hens watch Annihilation together|
Directed by Alex Garland
Ms. Hen wanted to see this film when it came out in theaters earlier this year, but it was out for such a short time, she didn’t see it. She prefers to watch movies at home and not in the theater, so she can do what she wants when she watches them, and can have privacy instead of being squished and trapped in a theater for hours.
Ms. Hen rented this the first week it came out, and she was dazzled. This is a science fiction movie with mostly female characters, which is extraordinary because these types of films usually consist of primarily male characters. Ms. Hen loved that these women were going into the shimmer to help discover what happened and what the shimmer actually is.
Natalie Portman’s character, Lena, is a scientist, and a former member of the army. Her husband, also a member of the army, disappears for a year, and when he comes back, he tries to explain how he can’t tell her what happened and where he was. He gets sick, and she calls an ambulance, and they are intercepted by what seems to be military. Lena discovers that he was in the shimmer, trying to find out about it with an expedition.
Dr. Ventress explains to Lena what the shimmer has done to the area, and how nobody comes out of it the same, if they do at all. The doctor is heading a search party inside with some other women, and Lena goes with them. The rag-tag bunch of diverse women all have a reason they don’t want to go back to the world, and Lena discovers that they all have lost the will to live in one way or another.
The shimmer is a strange place where odd things happen. Ms. Hen thinks it’s similar to ALICE IN WONDERLAND, and going down the rabbit hole. The women meet animals that don’t belong there, and flowers look like they’re growing in the wrong place. Time does not happen in the same way as it happens outside the shimmer, and the women seem to lose a couple of days after they first arrive.
There is a lot of discussion between the women of “Going to the lighthouse,” the place where the shimmer seems to originate, which made Ms. Hen think of Virginia Woolf’s novel TO THE LIGHTHOUSE. Ms. Hen read this book twice, and she didn’t like it either time, but it’s well respected in literary circles. In the novel, the characters talk about going to the lighthouse the whole book, and at the end, they go to the lighthouse. Ms. Hen didn’t like the book because she thought it was boring. She liked other books by Woolf, however. Ms. Hen thinks that the characters in ANNIHILATION talk about this because it’s their dream, what they hope will be the end of their journey, where they will find all the answers, similar to the novel. Ms. Hen liked this film better than that novel.
Many other symbolic things appear in this film. It also has Bibliical references, and mythological references. This is a beautifully made, intelligent science fiction film. It didn’t get widespread release because the movie is strange, but Ms. Hen thinks that the general public doesn’t have good taste in movies anyway. The ones that make all the money are never the best films. Ms. Hen is a film snob as well as a book snob, and other types of snob as well. She can’t really afford to be a snob, but she can’t help it.
Ms. Hen doesn’t write a lot of film reviews because she mostly writes about books, and she chose to limit what she writes so her blog doesn’t take over her life. She watches a lot of films, and she loves this one, and it fits into what she has been reading, the going down the rabbit hole theme. Ms. Hen recommends this film to people like her who like strange things.