Warning: This post contains minor spoilers for men.
The three Alex Garland films are ranked from worst to best. The filmmaker made his debut as a screenwriter with the film directed by Danny Boyle 28 days later and went on to write a plethora of movies and TV shows, including Developers, Never let Me Goand Sun. While he largely sticks to science fiction, Garland has done a lot of horror, among other genres.
Garland made his directorial debut in 2014 with Ex-Machina and has since directed two more films, including a fourth — Civil war with Kirsten Dunst — on the way. As far as Garland’s films go, they’re always layered, elegant, and filled with themes and moments that can be dissected and discussed long after the film is over. His propensity for creating such clever, often surreal films is what catapulted him into the limelight and won his work critical acclaim. Whether his films are liked or not, there is no doubt that they have left their mark.
However, not all Garland films are created equal. This piece aims to classify the filmmaker’s feature films as a director. Menhis last, Annihilationand Ex-Machina are all very different, standing out in their own way. Here are Garland’s three films, ranked from worst to best.
3. Men (2022)
Men follows Harper Marlowe (Jessie Buckley), who goes on vacation to escape the trauma following the death of her husband James (Paapa Essiedu). While renting a country house, Harper realizes that there really is no safe place as a woman. Inside her house, she is stalked by a creepy naked man (Rory Kinnear); as she walks around town, she is harassed by the vicar of the church and is the victim of misogynistic and offensive language. His third feature as writer-director, Garland’s Men is perhaps the most ambiguous, harrowing and surreal film Garland has written and directed to date. There’s an underlying sense of dread that pervades the film, resulting in a series of unsettling events that unfold as the story draws to a close.
While the film is horror filled with dread and the tension is great as it builds, Men is mostly a series of traumatic events putting pressure on its main character. It tugs at the strings that make up women’s experiences with misogyny, but is often too vague to pull it all together cohesively. The film’s ambiguity is both a strength and a weakness, leaving viewers with the stark realization that the story isn’t as deep as it claims. Men is quite vague while being riddled with imagery and religious symbols, but it asks its audience to be patient as it heads into something that attempts to draw conclusions where there may be none. be not. Garland has already tackled surreality successfully and Men is an overall interesting and well-made movie that leaves a lot to think about afterwards, but it’s also not the director’s strongest work so far.
2. Annihilation (2018)
Based on the first novel in the trilogy by James VanderMeer, Annihilation follows a biologist, Lena (Natalie Portman) and her team – Gina Rodriguez, Tessa Thompson, Jennifer Jason Leigh and Tuva Novotny – as they enter a mysterious area where nothing is as it seems after Lena’s husband Kane goes missing. of his films, Annihilation is perhaps Garland’s most breathtaking. To like Men, Annihilation can be quite ambiguous, but it thoughtfully addresses themes of environmental destruction, the destruction humanity can inflict, and much more. It’s also an exciting race from start to finish. Sprinkled with moments of unease, Annihilation doesn’t have immediate answers, but that’s part of what makes the journey so interesting, as the tension is felt at every turn.
The film is shrouded in mystery, its mind-bending story twisting and turning as it heads towards its conclusion. To this end, Annihilation can’t be broken down into simple terms, that’s also what makes it an endlessly thrilling film. It’s visually captivating, the natural world surrounding Lena and her team both marvelous and threatening. The scares, on the other hand, are intense and horrifying. Here, Garland shows her gifts for creating a world filled with danger and beauty, meaningful and jarring in her exploration of evolution, human relationships and connection to nature. Garland’s second feature was ambitious and showed he wasn’t afraid to take risks, stepping away from the world of Ex-Machina in a fresh and exciting way. Annihilation is the kind of film that needs to be revisited, with each viewing offering something entirely new.
1. Ex Machina (2014)
Garland’s first movie, Ex-Machina became a classic sci-fi thriller. It is also notable for bringing to the world a scene of Oscar Isaac dancing barefoot. The film follows a CEO named Nathan (Isaac), who steals into Caleb (Domhnall Gleeson), a programmer, to pass the Turing test – which measures a machine’s intelligence capabilities – on the artificially intelligent being Ava. (Alicia Vikander), who is just one of Nathan’s many AIs. Ex-Machina engages intellectually with its audience, examining what it means for a being to be seen as intelligent and aware, with Ava conning characters and viewers in many ways. The movie has some big ideas that it executes extremely well, while still leaving plenty of room for deeper analysis. Crucially, Ex-Machina tackles difficult material with ease, creating a world where machines and humanity aren’t too different.
Ex-Machina is perhaps Garland’s most straightforward film, but one that doesn’t neglect the themes it presents. The film not only proved Garland’s ability to craft smart, thoughtful sci-fi drama, but also showed how themes about humans, machines, and the continuing advancements of AI can be brought to light without getting too silly. feel derived. Its ending is satisfying, the result of the fantastic build-up and tension that emerges throughout the film. The cast’s portrayals are layered, with Vikander in particular delivering a standout performance as Ava. More … than Men and AnnihilationGarland had a solid understanding of the characters and story of Ex-Machina, giving them all room to breathe while increasing the tension, drama, and moral ambiguity that permeated the film. It remains his best film to date and is a reminder of what the filmmaker is truly capable of.
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