MPAA Rating: R
Director: Alex Garland
Starring: Natalie Portman, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Tessa Thompson
Runtime: 1 hr 55 mins
What It Is: Lena (Portman) is a biologist who’s husband Kane (Oscar Isaac) disappears mysteriously. When he shows up randomly almost a year later Lena has questions. When Kane is taken to a military hospital the facts of WHERE Kane was are presented to Lena who is cautious at first. When she’s told of a place called “The Shimmer” we’re told that the rules of our world don’t apply. Now Lena and her mate’s must traverse “The Shimmer” and solve its mysteries.
What We Think: Alex Garland is a science fiction genius. When you look at what this guy has done both as a writer and now in his second feature following the contemporary brilliance of Ex Machina to his writing of Sunshine, 28 Days Later, and Dredd. Portman feels invigorated by the dialogue and overall the film has a very VERY sinister tone. All of the actresses here play characters that we really begin to like. They feel all the more fleshed out even if we don’t get to spend too long with them. I love how beautiful “The Shimmer” looks and that some, but not all of it seems practical. Thompson, Tuva Novotny, and Gina Rodriguez are great in their roles alongside Portman and Jennifer Jason Leigh, who just amazing.
Our Grade: A-, Alex Garland continues to make thinking person sci-fi and I’m loving all of it. This is one of the years best and so, of course, I’ll be highly recommending it. Not only is the tension here but so is the terror, to an extent. That looming sense of dread we all enjoy in our thrillers is here and it’ll keep you going with that alone. Check it out here in the states on Blu-Ray and digital soon and Netflix now if you’re in the U.K.