Annihilation ★★★

Natalie Portman's ability to carry a film, if ever in doubt, is undeniable after Annihilation and Jackie. She has proven herself an adept vehicle for emotionality, action, story and transporting a character on a journey from beginning to end.

Alex Garland's Ex Machina was an impressive film, and made me consider him a promising new voice in the genre. Annihilation, arriving on the heals of last year's excellent Arrival, had some of the same high points that Ex Machina had, including set design, photography, an unfolding story, well paced over the run time, a fascinating premise that feels like it pays off for the most part.

But this film had a less than satisfying third act, choosing to go in a direction of "what exactly happens? What does it mean?" which didn't feel well earned. Especially the final shot that reuses a horror trope, making the film feel much less fresh as a result.