I don't know...
Lena (Natalie Portman) is a biologist whose husband, Kane (Oscar Isaac) went missing a year prior on a covert mission. When he suddenly reappears in bad shape, Lena is taking to a top secret facility. She meets with Dr. Ventress (Jennifer Jason Leigh) who explains her husband's mission consisted of him going into "The Shimmer." A strange bubble like substance engulfing an area of national park space. He's the only person they've sent in that has come back. Lena decides to join Ventress's mission into the Shimmer along with three other medical professionals/scientists. (played by Tessa Thompson, Gina Rodriguez and Tuva Novotny)
I haven't read the book this film is based on so I can't comment on how well it's adapted, but I found this to be very thought provoking. After recently being let down with another scifi film, Mute, seeing this one meet high expectations was a relief. It's definitely weird and doesn't spell anything out for you, but it's quite the experience.
I had read complaints about the film being slow, and it does take its time building, but it was never boring. I found all the quiet moments leading up to the main event to be very interesting and I wouldn't have cut any scenes. I appreciated how the film tried to build the world around them. When it comes to the characters themselves, aside from Lena the supporting cast get stories that are told, not seen and I think that worked really well here. We got to know a little of them and their professions, and that felt like enough.
The acting is strong from all around. At first it was hard to get used to Jennifer Jason Leigh's Ventress. She speaks slowly and never shows any emotion. It felt like she was coming off a high of some sort, but that is eventually explained. The only questionable thing going on acting wise is Oscar Isaac's accent. He tries to give Kane a slight Southern drawl and it really backfires. Thankfully most of his scenes don't require him to speak.
Of course all the talk around this film is what Paramount is doing it. Apparently there were a lot of disagreements leading up to distribution on whether or not the film was going to be too complicated and Paramount ended up handing over distribution rights to Netflix, thus ruining its box office. It starts streaming on (I believe) March 16th everywhere, but I'm glad I saw this on the big screen. It deserves to be supported there, and the sound alone made it worth it. I was thankful for that Dolby Atmos
I'm going to be turning this one over in my head for a while. I'm still not sure what all of it meant, but I enjoyed watching it. There is a scene in here that's absolutely terrifying. Without spoilers, if you've seen the film you probably know exactly what I'm talking about. I haven't been that unsettled in a film for a while.
Memorable Quote: "It's so hot when you patronize me." - Kane (Oscar Isaac)