There has been some pretty intense science fiction films, specifically ones that really make you think. Classics include Blade Runner, 2001: A Space Odyssey, and Solaris. However most recently films such as Under the Skin and the Vanishing Waves have gained cult followings. Alex Garland joined the fray with what many call a masterpiece, Ex Machina, from 2014. He’s back four years later with his second directorial effort, Annihilation, based off the high concept science fiction novel written by Jeff VanderMeer. The novel, part of a trilogy entitled Southern Reach, won many prestigious awards which garnered it much attention.
Natalie Portman stars as Lena, a college professor, whose husband has gone missing after leaving for a black ops mission. A year later he reappears, unable to remember what happened. After an unexplained medical emergency, the two are sent to a government outpost along the Florida panhandle. There, a mysterious area phenomenon known as the shimmer has transpired. Lena discovers that prior to the return of her husband from a mission within, no one had ever come back. Her husband, now comatose, remains in intensive care at the facility. When a new group of scientists plan an excursion into what is now called Area X, Lena joins them to learn what lies beyond the “shimmer.”
Alex Garland prior to directing films had written such scripts as 28 Days Later, Dredd, and Sunshine. With his latest film, the movie has gained critical praise and admiration from many. After test screens showed the film to be confusing to audiences, Paramount decided to sell the international rights to the film to Netflix while keeping the theater rights for the U.S.A. and China. The Dark Discussions co-hosts take a look at this polarizing film and give their opinions.