14 March 2018 | ajwh-53593
Strange, abstract, mesmeric
I've thought about this film for days after seeing it. I don't even know what specifically I've been thinking about, all I can say is it left a big impression on me. I disagree with those who say it's intellectual. I don't think it is nor was it intended to be. It's visceral, primal, just like the world inside The Shimmer.
For me, films work on three hierarchical levels: at the very basic, they should be entertaining. All films should succeed here (but not all do, which is why we should rightly slam those that don't!). Then, there are films that are not only entertaining but also elicit an emotional response; they move us in some way. Finally, there are entertaining films that are moving but also have meaning; they resonate on a deeper, often metaphysical level. To my mind, Annihilation achieves all three.
Forget the plot holes. They exist in every film, otherwise they wouldn't be stories. Some of my favourite films have canyon-sized plot holes and inconsistencies. If you analyse any film you'll find them, and often you don't have to look very hard, e.g. Back to the Future. Do the plot holes and gaps in logic stop BTTF from being a great film? Not to my mind, because I'm invested in the movie. Plot holes only matter to me when they draw me away from the film; if it fails to entertain me.
Does the plot in Annihilation even really matter? The film is about the experience, the visuals and audio, the curiosity, the suspense. A world that could only be accessible to us in our imaginations is here brought to life on the screen. It asks a lot of questions but isn't interested in the answers. It's bold, brave, challenging. Some of it is spectacular, some of it less so. Naturally, that will split opinion, but we've become too accustomed to the ready-packaged "Happy Meal Movies" that the studios churn out for us. We're addicted to them like we're addicted to sugary fast food. We should welcome any film that attempts to wean us off that and broaden our palates.
This is a proper cinematic film, so what a shame it is that here in the UK (and many other countries) we were denied the pleasure of seeing it on the big screen. I can only imagine how even more beguiling and entrancing the experience would've been.
Turn off the lights, switch off your phones, and sit back and feed your imagination and sense of wonder. I know that's why I watch and love films. 8.5/10.