Annihilation ★★★★★

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

This review may contain spoilers.

it's not destroying. it's making something new.

Like the Shimmer, Annihilation is a beautifully crafted prism reflecting themes of self-destruction, grief, and survival. The motif of unrecognizable familiarity is brilliantly woven into the narrative—whether it's the recurring scenes of mutations of cells, the amiss energy of Kane's clone, or the infamous dance sequence, Annihilation explores the change we undergo after trauma. We become fragmented versions of ourselves as we grow, do we not? Self-destruction comes in various forms, but is ultimately unified by one central action: the entity that destroys you becomes a part of you. The most haunting images of these are Shepard's last words coming out of the bear that killed her, and Ventress being consumed from the inside out.

There are however a few issues that take away from the experience. The dialogue (especially on self-destruction) was pushed a little too obviously to the point where it was limiting. Josie and Anya obviously function as archetypal characters for the stages of grief, and though clever, its execution diminishes their dimensionality as characters outside of that role. Moving on... 

Lena's survival beautifully portrays living through trauma—she ultimately survives through her acceptance of change. When Lena is mirrored by the humanoid, she goes from displaying fear and hostility to acceptance, which is a brilliant portrayal of not recognizing yourself anymore. But like Lena says to Lomax, it didn't want anything, Change isn't necessarily good, but it isn't necessarily bad either. The ambiguity of who Lena ends up as—both her old and new self—is the final blow, especially with her lack of an answer to Kane asking, "Are you Lena?". The question arises: we change to survive, but how do we recognize ourselves down the road?

Block or Report

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