LIFE: Movie ReviewFilm

LIFE: Movie Review

Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Rebecca Ferguson, Ryan Reynolds, Olga Dihovichnaya, Sho Murakami, Naoko Mori (Rated MA – 103 min).

After a breathtaking opening scene, tension builds when a sample from Mars turns out to be evolving single cell alien intelligence threatening international space station astronauts. Hasty decisions need to be made before returning home risking Earth’s annihilation.

Nicknamed Calvin by the crew, appearing to be stagnant at first, the unknown organism becomes a not-so-friendly ET slowly growing and craving human food. Due to the containment of the situation, chills arise as Calvin gets large stalking the ship.

Familiar but decent science-fiction blueprint, essentially Alien for a new generation. However rumour has it that this is an unofficial prequel to a new Venom film, itself a spin-off to the upcoming Spiderman instalment. Be that as it may, I’m not so sure.

Life crackles along giving a false sense of security of light humour one minute, terrifying jolts the next. Music is part of the fear factor, it’s a great orchestral score Jon Ekstrand. Much to do with the believable dread is because of six skilled actors emoting personality and fear into variable states as survival instincts kick in. We all know Ryan Reynolds has charisma, here it’s toned down.

Rebecca Ferguson is all class in everything which she appears while aura soaked Olga Dihovichnaya as Russian mission commander Golovkina is memorable in more ways than one. The less said about fantastic Jake Gyllenhaal (Donnie Darko, Nocturnal Animals) as an American physician the better, as he’s critical to the evolving plot line.

Special effects are limited to eerie galaxy emptiness on the outside and grey cold structures on the inside joined by the flapping fast moving creature. All the technology in the world is nothing against an intelligence using natural instinct for the intent of taking control of all it can (which also means our home if it reaches Earth).

Gruesome in parts but justified and not all bloody for the sake of it, the ‘kills’ turn out creepy until a finale that doesn’t quite ruin all that came before it, although still a cop out conclusion, sort of.

Highly recommended for adults only, send the kids to Power Rangers.

Shane A. Bassett

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