I’d heard a lot about this film and it’s weird distribution deal which saw it get cinema release in US, Canada and I think China but everywhere else Netflix had it. I’d heard many mixed reviews as well it seems people either thought it was fantastic or garbage that considered itself far cleverer than it actually was. The cast was strong and after Thor Ragnarok I’d watch Tess Thompson in just about anything at all.
Director – Alex Garland
Writer – Alex Garland Based on novel by Jeff VanderMeer
Stars – Natalie Portman, Benedict Wong, Sonoya Mizuno, David Gyasi, Oscar Isaac, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Gina Rodriguez, Tuva Novotny and Tessa Thompson
Run Time – 115 minutes
Budget – $40 million estimated
Tagline – Fear What’s Inside
Lena is inside some sort of facility in a glass room, she is being questioned by a man in a hazmat suit whilst several other people watch her through the glass. She is asked about her recent mission the man tells her she’s been gone for months but for her it only felt like weeks at most. She confirms a few things that happened on her mission but she also has no idea what happened to at least two of the members of her party.
After this we flash back to something striking a lighthouse and then back to Lena’s life before the mission. She’s very much in love with her Husband but their time together is limited. He’s in some sort of special ops team and he disappears for weeks and months on end. He has currently been gone for a very long time and is assumed dead by most people including Lena. After being invited out by her friend and workmate Lena declines and stays in to paint the bathroom, during this painting her Husband Kane appears to her. She embraces him and can’t believe he’s back but it doesn’t last long, soon he begins to feel unwell and needs to be rushed to hospital.
On the way her and her Husband are kidnapped and she wakes up inside what we assume is the facility from the start. She meets Dr Ventress who eventually explains all to her, how her Husband was part of a special team that entered something called the shimmer. The problem is no one has ever returned from in there until now and every team sent in was made up of all men. Lena volunteers to go through this shimmering wall and into the unknown in the hopes of finding a way to stop it growing and destroying the world.
Going with her is a team made up of all women, inside they hope to find what happened to all the teams that had gone inside in the past and hope to stop it. Inside the shimmer things are wrong, dangerous creatures lurk inside there and everything seems overgrown. It’s not long until Lena and her fellow operatives find evidence of what happened to her Husbands team.
I can’t say too much else without spoilers but the whole team investigates the place know as the shimmer with the end goal of trying to reach the lighthouse that was the start of this whole weird phenomenon. Along the way lots of weird things happen and strange creature lurk everywhere, however besides that we get flash backs of Lena’s life as her backstory is fleshed out. Can the team find a way to the end and stop the world from being consumed?
- Extremely strong acting from everyone involved.
- A nice pacing right to the end.
- A good variation of characters form the team and this really helps the overall story.
- Inside the shimmer is amazing effects wise, everything in there seems so surreal.
- The story has made me really want to read the book it’s based on.
- The scenes with the animals inside the shimmer are hugely entertaining!
- I wasn’t too keen on the ending.
- I can see why some people think it’s trying to be too clever.
I really can’t think of any other bad things about this film, there maybe a bit of a cheap trick to attempt and drive a wedge between the team but not so much I could include it was a bad point. It’s always good to see some sci-fi about as it’s a dying genre in TV and to some extent in film outside of Star Wars. I think this is worth a watch but I’m not in any extreme camp or the other of hating or loving it. It’s got some good and some bad points and if you want some half decent sci-fi then give it a go!
Overall Rating – 7/10