A biologist's husband disappears. She puts her name forward for an expedition into an environmental disaster zone, but does not find what she's expecting. The expedition team is made up of the biologist, an anthropologist, a psychologist, a surveyor, and a linguist.
Principal photography was underway by April 2016 when actor David Gyasi was added to the cast. Location filming by Lighthouse Pictures Ltd. occurred starting in late April in South Forest, Windsor Great Park. Some test shooting had already been done in St. Marks, Florida, but the vegetation in the area turned out to be too dense to give any perception of depth on screen. Lighthouse Pictures have a charge arrangement registered with U.K. Companies House regarding this matter. On May 9, 2016, cinematographer Rob Hardy began sharing pictures from the set of the film. On July 13 and 14, filming took place at Holkham Pines in North Norfolk. Shooting was completed that month. See more »
All five women on the expedition are shown using M4 full-auto rifles. We are told that Lena and Sheppard are ex-military, so it's plausible that the military would arm them. However, the rest of the team are civilians and academics. It's extremely unlikely that the military would arm civilians, let alone issue them fully automatic weapons. See more »
The Mark (Interlude)
Performed by Moderat
Words and Music by Gernot Bronsert, Sebastian Szary and Apparat (as Sascha Ring)
Licensed courtesy of Sony/ATV Music Publishing Limited
Published by Monkeytown Music Gmbh / Sony/ATV Music Publishing Limited,
Random Noize Musick, Budde Music See more »
Remember when alien movies were just about little green men or robot humanoids coming to conquer Earth? Annihilation is another in a long line of modern sci-fi films to be more interested in the philosophy than the practicality of extra-terrestrials. But unlike Under the Skin or Europa Report, its ponderous nature never quite reaches its point. It's definitely a metaphor for something, but what? Aging? Marriage? Dementia? Time? Death? Perhaps a second-viewing would clear some of this up, but then I'd have to slog through this movie again.
An unknown object has crashed onto earth, causing a slowly growing "shimmer" wall that seems to make anyone who enters it disappear. In so many ways, it's just a lesser version of classic films. Like Tarkovsky's Stalker, it's comfortable with saying "I don't know", but more out of confusion than intrigue. Like Villeneuve's Arrival, it uses alien beings to talk about humanity, but with little emotional impact. Like Carpenters' The Thing, its unexpectedly and brutally gory, though not as technically impressive.
However, it's a hard movie to write-off or be complacent about, given its strangeness and ambition. The bursts of horror are fun and unique, with cool creatures and a steady directing hand. Most of all, it's visually striking cinematography and often quite beautiful production design are undeniable. Most of its issues seem to stem from the writing, which isn't just thematically unfocused, but also just full of cliched dialogue.
With Ex Machina, Alex Garland made a strong impression with that debut. And even with all of Annihilation's script problems, his camera's eye and brainy tendencies keep him as a filmmaker worth watching.
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