February 24, 2018

'Annihilation' Review: A beautiful heap of nonsense

Christopher Orr—The Atlantic:

Ambiguity is not necessarily a bad thing in a motion picture. But Annihilation, the director Alex Garland’s adaptation of the first novel of Jeff VanderMeer’s Southern Reach trilogy, is so resolutely vague, so eager to confound, that its ambiguity becomes itself ambiguous.

Or, as the subheadline states it:

The director Alex Garland’s followup to his debut feature Ex Machina is frequently a pleasure to look at, but lacks structure and coherence.

I’ve not yet seen the film, but I read the book shortly after it received the Nebula Award for Best Novel, in 2015. Nebulas are awarded by a majority vote of science fiction authors; this is no popularity contest winner. Of the story, I’d say the subheadline captures its essence well. I finished the book not exactly sure of what I’d just read.

I’ll see the film, if only for Natalie Portman’s portrayal of an emotionally and intellectually tortured character in an alien-on-Earth landscape. I expect to emerge puzzled.

#Annihilation #scifi #NebulaAwardWinner