Movie Review: Life (2017)
Life is a Sci-fi thriller directed by Daniel Espinosa and starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Rebecca Ferguson, and Ryan Reynolds. The film is a solid take on this genre, but manages to feel long despite it’s less than two hour run-time. It does a solid job of creating suspense and characters that you feel for, but it’s twists and scares are fairly predictable.
Life doesn’t do anything new, but manages to be fairly entertaining
A team on the International Space Station discovers what appears to be the prove of life outside of Earth. The experiments prove that this species can survive harsh conditions and is extremely adaptable. Dr. Hugh Derry (Ariyon Bakare) is attacked by the creature and the crew goes into quarantine protocols to try and contain or destroy the creature.
The film really focuses on the team and their connectedness. There isn’t a clear protagonist of this story like Ripley was in Alien, which this film definitely is reminiscent of. The cast is great and Hiroyuki Sanada as Sho Murakami is a standout. His character has some of the best emotional beats in the story and his performance really helps get the audience in the suspense the film is selling. He gets to witness the birth of his child being born over a live video stream and that alone makes you want him to survive.
The cast makes the character sympathetic
Gyllenhaal’s character, David Jordan, is the most complex as he has been on the ISS the longest. He feels more at home on this space station than he does on Earth, and that creates an interesting dynamic to his character. Ferguson plays Miranda North who is the CDC agent and in charge of the firewalls in place to contain the lifeform. Her role is significant and she performs very well. Reynolds offers the comic relief that he is known for, but also manages to play the role needed.
The film is entertaining and the design of the creature is pretty cool, but some of its evolutions look a little unlikely. Yet, there are moments of sheer suspense that is executed rather well. A lot of thrillers have felt lacking since seeing Green Room, but this one did manage to elicit the edge of the seat feeling these films should succeed. However, most of the beats are easy to see coming and every time the film could take the road less traveled, it seems to choose the predictable path. There are moments where visually the film is setting up a reveal or a twist, but it manages to pull back the curtain to show exactly what a veteran Sci-fi film fan would expect.
Life is an entertaining film and a solid attempt of the genre. The cast performs very well, but ultimately it feels like many films that have come before it. There is nothing particularly memorable about this film, but it is a suspenseful time at the movies. Life earns the Decent Watch rating.