After the disappearance of her husband from a top-secret mission, Lena (Natalie Portman) is called to join an expedition to help investigate an unknown area which has been called “The Shimmer”. The Shimmer has been completely blocked off by the U.S. government. Many teams have the entered area previously, but none have yet returned. This time the team has changed, and we have a group of female scientists (Including Lena) who will now investigate. “The Shimmer” is also something that appears to be growing more and more, so time is of the essence. Lena is someone who has had army experience as well as currently being a biologist. Will they survive the unknown area? What is the cause of The Shimmer and where did it come from? And what happened to Lena’s husband?!
Director Alex Garland (Best known for his previous work directing the sci-fi film, Ex-Machina) returns to write and direct this new film. Like his last work, this film has the genre of Sci-fi, but with a higher level of Thrill and Horror elements. We are very fortunate to have this film go directly to Netflix Australia considering the film’s talent both in front and behind the camera. In some states, this film is being shown in cinemas before a digital or physical disc release.
The picture and audio is a sci-fi fan’s dream. “The Shimmer” is impressive to look at, but also has enough “unknown factors” for us to enjoy all elements. Some visuals may come across somewhat basic, but the creativity and thought process that has gone into this film is something to admire and respect. Creepy electronic music also stands out to create suspense and feels rather fitting throughout the film’s duration.
This is also a film that will require your 100% focus as some elements may make viewers frown at the film. I enjoyed not knowing what was going to happen next as each scene was overall unpredictable. I sat and watched with many possible outcomes in my mind, not sure which one of them would be correct. It’s nice to enjoy a film that is not so obvious that we spoon feed all the details. The film also focuses more so suspense and gore rather than being a nonstop “Predator type” action film.
I personally felt Natalie Portman was a great choice to play Lena, but I do feel her presence in the film’s 1st act was a tad weak. Another note to mention is that during critical and horrific moments, you will find some of the characters exploring “The Shimmer” will give little to no expression based on the situation. At times all characters can look so dull and plain or even worse- some frighten and some not at all. None of the characters felt consistent in regard to their actions. There are other minor moments one could point out but when it comes to sci-fi, how picky can we get?
Overall, I enjoy the concept of this film. It’s new, it’s creative and tries something different from just being just another sci-fi film. Seeing Natalie Portman take the lead in something different for her was also refreshing. Considering how many movies have gone to Netflix, this is one of the better films I’ve seen go straight to Digital.
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Review Written by Peter Walkden