Potential spoilers ahead. You have been warned.
I was aware that 2017s ‘Life’ has been compared to Ridley Scotts, ‘Alien’ from the late 70s.
So, I expected a lot from this film.
Essentially, it is about a group of people, in outer space finding a life form that eventually starts killing them, one by one.
The cast was excellent, the writing adequate. We get just a taste of each characters background. This is unfortunate, since a bit more background is always interesting and kicks up curiosity factor. For example, Hugh Derry is a biologist and easily the smartest man in any room, but the really interesting thing is that he is obviously disabled. But that’s all we are told about him. An interesting minor storyline, that might have intrigued us, but no, that’s as much as we learn about anyone.
Jake Gyllenhal plays Doctor Dave Jorden, the pilot. He is a self-proclaimed loner, close to setting a record for the longest stay in space. He seems to have a serious dislike of the human race, yet survives to the end trying to save the Earth.
Ryan Reynolds is the other most recognizable name. As Rory, he is essentially a mechanic and is the first to die. However, neither he nor the rest of the cast die in any particular order, which is refreshing.
Daniel Espinoza, the director, makes some wonderful choices in addition to his casting. The cinematography is impressive. Beautifully pristine, spacious shots, yet without a claustrophobic feel inside the station. The sense of zero-gravity was exquisite throughout the production. (It was the real star of the movie).The alien was created by CGI. The look and sound of said alien was spot-on. It started out as a single-celled organism and grew into a truly creepy alien. (Something about its tentacle-like arms ). There are one or two continuity errors but that could just be me questioning the science. But overall a realistic look at what might happen in space.
The most interesting feature of both the alien from Scotts ‘Alien’, and ‘Calvin’ in ‘Life’ is that they both must infiltrate and invade the body as a portion of their growth pattern. And, like in many other science fiction horror movies, there is a great fear of “The Other”. Even though, in many ways we cheer for the alien. After all it’s just trying to survive as well.
This film is also a fine example of the ‘body horror’ movies popularized in the eighties.
‘Life’ is an enjoyable movie with tension from start to finish. Definitely a movie to see in the theater.
IMDB.com has a rating of 7.0
I give it a 7 out of 10.