Rated R/ 120 Minutes
Directed by: Alex Garland
Cast: Natalie Portman, Tessa Thompson, Jennifer Jason Leigh


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Lena (Natalie Portman), a biologist and former soldier, joins a mission to uncover what happened to her husband inside Area X - a sinister and mysterious phenomenon that is expanding across the American coastline. Once inside, the expedition discovers a world of mutated landscape and creatures, as dangerous as it is beautiful, that threatens both their lives and their sanity.  From the director of Ex Machina and based on Jeff VanderMeer's best-selling Southern Reach Trilogy.

'Annihilation' is smart science fiction

• 3½ stars out of four •

Calvin Wilson / St. Louis Post-Dispatch

“Annihilation” may strike some viewers as a hybrid of “Arrival” (2016) and “Alien” (1979), but it’s very much its own thing — a science-fiction flick that’s at once intellectually ambitious and extremely frightening.

Working from a screenplay that he adapted from a novel by Jeff VanderMeer, director Alex Garland (“Ex Machina”) creates a strange, intriguing world in which none of the usual rules apply. This is a film that gets under your skin and stays there.

Portman is eminently watchable as Lena, who slowly realizes that she’s in way over her head. And “Ex Machina” star Isaac virtually redefines creepiness.

No doubt “Annihilation” will get a lot of attention for showcasing a mostly female cast. But the film is best appreciated as a smart entry in an often challenging genre.

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