Annihilation ★★★★½

This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

This review may contain spoilers.

Thought about waiting til a re-watch in like a week from now to spill out all the additional thoughts that are swirling around in my head after my second time viewing Garland's modern sci-fi masterwork, but then thought, screw it, the next review/rambling's gonna be bloated enough as it is.

In Annihilation's beguiling final act, Garland takes the subjective reality - though I don't think the outcome of this film's narrative is as malleable/open to interpretation as some have suggested - of the narrative and reflects it in the lens of the tripod mounted camcorder at the heart of Area X.

Because, in the end, though Lena's journey only ends when she conquers her Shimmer mimic - and by extension the depressive mourning and self-hatred that it represents, her original goal (to discover what truly happened to Kane) ends moments before Garland goes full 2001/Under the Skin.

In that moment, when she opens up the impossibly still functioning camcorder, Garland busts open the doors of interpretation and reflexivity *wide* open. Grief, memory, mourning, and reflection become materialized in the central tool of cinema: the camera; more essentially, the lens.

Annihilation - both the film and the idea - become a mirror for the audience; to see their own self-destruction, the futility of it, and the festering growth of it. It's aesthetization (not a real word, but just roll with it) of grief and the crushing weight of depression in a choreography of beauty and terror becomes a way for us to see and interpret - albeit abstractly - our own past traumas. But it also finds a modicum of comfort in the unity of realizing how inherently natural this self-sabotage is. It's as predestined as apoptosis.

Cinema, as refracted through the Shimmer of Garland's lens, is a realization of all our faults and flaws, but coming out the other side, even if changed irrevocably.

Yeah, love this thing to death. Can't stop thinking about it. Probably won't for a while.

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