Life Review

Director: Daniel Espinosa
Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal, Rebecca Ferguson and Ryan Reynolds

For viewers who’re rooted in Hollywood science fiction, Life is a treat! The film, more like a well-woven knit of moments – both in words and in thrill – keeps you intrigued and at the edge of your seat for most part.

The film chronicles the journey of a 6-member International Space Station crew who is on a mission – ‘Pilgrim 7 Mission’ – to find the existence of life on Mars. What they find, however, turns out to be more than just life.

It deals with a plot quite familiar to sci-fi lovers and brings to screen the curious case of what would happen when humans get to battle (read control) an extra-terrestrial living being. The racially and culturally diverse crew includes members, each well-qualified in their own field, to undercover the life on the planet. They find a single celled microscopic being – which in itself is a ground breaking news – driving people on Earth crazy. On their journey back home, the unicellular ‘Calvin’, as they call it, starts growing by heaps and bounds. It starts with subtle movement, a slight twitch, response to environment but soon turns to a catastrophic existence waiting to grab anything and everything in sight.

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To convey the larger-than-life consuming power of Calvin, several well-crafted terror scenes are depicted and that’s when you realise the power of this film. No one will be spared you feel and that consideration for the characters’ survival creeps upon you. Even though the build-up doesn’t take in account the life of crew members, few personal accounts make you feel connected enough to worry about their endurance.

‘In space, no one can hear you scream’ – the tagline still echoes when the topic of Hollywood space thrillers pop up. Considering the reign of 1989-film Alien, it was a big gamble for director Daniel Espinosa to enter this territory but to his credit, he has helmed a film worth watching. At times, you do get the same vibe as that of Interstellar and Alien but it still isn’t an out and out rip off.

More so, the fact that each of the 6 characters in the lead, has a pivotal role to play – both in meaning and in acting – pulls forward the narrative quite smoothly.

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There are certain scenes, so well-crafted, they actually make you feel claustrophobic. They send chills down your spine and while you’re always at the edge of your seat post 45 minutes the starting time, they make your eyes pop out. In a good way, of course. Furthermore, the cinematography and the background score work in tandem to deliver the required essence.

Large part of credit for ‘Life’ to have a life of its own goes to the writers Paul Wernick and Rhett Reese, who many known as the men behind Deadpool. Minimal words and crisp dialogues make it a gruesome popcorn flick. It doesn’t use words that you may think could have been avoided nor forced jokes or conversations too serious to be true. Plus, the dialogues don’t hint at a deeper philosophical meanings, but stay true to the usage and keep the slight realism intact.

All in all, it’s an impressive film which swiftly makes a transition from some extra-terrestrial fun to some bloodbath. Be prepared for some horrid scenes between alien and human too, of course.

Rating: 3.5/5

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