‘Annihilation’ features female cast in haunting setting


Annihilation makes a strong feminist statement with its all-female lead cast. Jennifer Jason Leigh as Dr. Ventress, Natalie Portman as Lena, Tuva Novotny as Cass Shepherd, Tessa Thompson as Josie Radek, and Gina Rodriguez. Photo used with permission of Tribune News Service.

Maggie Lewellen, Reporter

     [Spoilers ahead] One word to describe this film is: eccentric. I originally planned to watch this movie in hopes of seeing Natalie Portman and other actresses tackle a strong female cast. I was disappointed, not by the cast but by the plot.

     I loved a lot about this film. There was lush, strange scenery and mixed music that changed constantly from folk to foreboding. There was a strong feminist aspect with the an all female cast as the lead roles.

      The movie, is about, Lena, Natalie Portman, a biologist and ex-marine, who thinks her military husband was killed in action. Her husband shows up at their home 12 months later. He is sick and discombobulated. As they rush to a hospital the army he belongs to picks him up and they are sent to a location like Area 51 . We are then introduced to the Shimmer which is this alien-like field of color that people are sent into and never return- besides her husband who is now terminally ill after leaving the Shimmer. Lena then meets a group of women who are volunteering to enter the Shimmer. In hopes to cure her husband, she joins them.

      I was sucked in when they entered the Shimmer, drawn in by this supernatural phenomenon and aching for a good ending to cure my curiosity.

     Unfortunately, what made me dissatisfied was the end. I could easily assume the movie would relate to aliens or the supernatural. The core of the Shimmer turned into an iridescent human-like figure that  copied her every move. For some reason this left me shaken and vexed. It truly made me uncomfortable watching this alien copy her out of its own curiosity, but the ending had little explanation.

     I loved everything but the end. I would recommend this movie to lovers of the supernatural, alien life, feminists and those who question the beyond. This is definitely not for the faint of heart or individuals uncomfortable with any of those topics. The movie surely showed girl power in the film industry and the capabilities of creating unimaginable realms.

This movie currently is being shown at Goodrich Hamilton 16 IMAX, UA Galaxy Stadium 14 and AMC Castleton Square 14.