Sunday, December 19, 2021

#-17 A Beautiful Nightmare

Annihilation (2018) 

"It was dreamlike"
"Not always", "Sometimes it was beautiful."

I can't think of an exchange in Alex Garland's 2018 Sci-Fi masterpiece that more concisely translates what his movie is trying to convey.

It's a conversation that Natalie Portman is having with a doctor, trying to find out what happened to a team of scientists that were tasked with finding out the source of a widely expanding "Shimmer" creeping along the East Coast.

Fuck you I'm not going inside
-Me, probably.

The first 20 minutes or so start off rather slowly, but once the team of kick-ass female scientists head into the "Shimmer" then its buckle up motherfuckers! This mind altering thrill ride doesn't fucking stop for nobody! It's the best.

The attention to detail will take several re-watches to notice. Whether its Natalie Portman's combat accurate firing stance or the intricate detail that goes into recreating CGI alien flowers in the forms of human beings, this movie is dense in all the right ways. Delicate and brutal, a true mutation of your normal expectations on what a movie can be.

Haunting and Beautiful
Special call out to Ben Salisbury & Geoff Barrow for creating a score that is as unsettling as anything we're watching on screen. The music weaves itself into the scenes so effortlessly that you hardly notice the sense of doom until its practically on top of you. I mean listen to this and tell me you aren't immediately filled with an impending dread.

The entire movie seizes you with a sense of invasion. It takes over and occupies your body, never allowing you to feel comfortable in your own skin. Its finale is as satisfying as a cleansing fire, like burning a fever off in the middle of the night and waking up anew. However, the sickness leaves a veneer, this movie will haunt you. The scene involving a bear (Those that have seen this can relate) has given me the cinematic form of PTSD. It's so fucking intense.

Lets talk about the last 25 minutes of this movie. They are a psychotropic roller-coaster. Visually and audibly stunning in every sense of those words. I'm am transfixed and terrified by them and I'll be thinking of them weeks after a re-watch. There is a scene near the end that makes me feel as claustrophobic as I ever have been watching a film, and I've sat through the entirety of 127 Hours.
(Spoiler Alert: Not on the list)

Not sure how many people saw this movie, as it didn't have a huge theatrical run and struggled to make back its budget. There was also some initial setbacks with what streaming service it was to appear on. I know its on Amazon Prime now, so just do yourself a favor and watch this gem. It's going to be a cult classic in 25 years and it should probably be higher on this list.