Movie Review: Annihilation (English)

Watching Alex Garland's latest directorial outing Annihilation, an adaptation of Jeff VanderMeer's novel of the same name from the Southern Reach Trilogy, I was awed, mesmerised, drawn towards the strange, kaleidoscopic ecosystem in cancerous decline (called the Shimmer), but equally frustrated - not just for its giant left turns from the source material, but also for its deliberately befuddling narrative that sets up an intriguing puzzle about the cyclical nature of the universe (hello Ouroboros!) and larger philosophical questions about self-destruction, coping up with trauma and what it means to be human, and then leaves it all hanging, without giving any concrete answers. That by itself is not necessarily a big problem, but in the absence of a strong emotional core to drive the story forward (or compelling characters to root for), Annihilation comes across as a mere high-brow thought experiment meant to tickle the brain cells but content to tie all loose ends with a simple, cryptic answer: "I don't know." Perhaps such is life!