Life directed by Daniel Espinosa is not that emotionally multi layered cinematic experience you might expect seeing the title and also the space backdrop of the film. Life is actually a horror movie set in the space and looking at the way it has been constructed, you can even call it a space Anaconda. With anxiety abundant in its entire length this film is simple but will definitely give you chills.
The ISS (International Space Station) is conducting a Mars Pilgrim program looking for the presence of life outside earth’s atmosphere and they are checking the specimen they received from Mars. After waiting for a considerable time they finally get to find the existence of it and the movie is about the devastating turn of events that happen inside the space station when they failed to contain this new form of life.
Like I said, it’s more like seeing Anaconda. We know that a really bad demon is out there that can kill humans very brutally. The film has Calvin (the name given to the new organism) as that fear factor and it is looking for its food for survival and the only source is the astronauts. Looking at this as a horror film is the best way. If seeing the title you sort of tend to expect anything intellectual like Interstellar or Kubrick’s Space Odyssey, you will be disappointed. The depth of Life is similar to the recent Jennifer Lawrence, Chris Pratt film Passengers. The purpose is to engage the audience in to a stranded in space horror genre and with visuals that can scare the crap out of you the movie has done that part very effectively.
Daniel Espinosa isn’t trying to play it in a very different way. The way he conceives the scenes aren’t that absorbing, but the director has managed to create the much needed horror factor. Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick who wrote last year’s surprise R rated super hero flick Deadpool has managed to sneak in facts and emotions in to this horror film. The climax twist is a bit cheesy and scary. But the build up towards that point looks very legitimate with us seeing the various efforts of the astronauts to escape and it getting setbacks due to practical factors (A NASA or ISRO guy may have questions, but we as a general audience won’t find it flawed). The visual effects were pretty good. And some of the shots in the movie were captured very interestingly giving us a feel about how it is to be inside a space station.
Looking at the potential of the actors, the movie isn’t that demanding in terms of performance. Jake Gyllenhaal and Rebecca Ferguson apparently have the lengthiest of roles in the film and they look fine to be those characters. Ryan Reynolds gets a character which suits his off screen persona and him as the guttermouth Rory was also okay. Ariyon Bakare as Hugh was good btw.
Life is more of a mainstream popcorn film that has an external charm with instant likeability. Even after being not so deep about the concept of life, the spookiness it creates is impressive.
Life is more of a mainstream popcorn film that has an external charm with instant likeability.
Green: Recommended Film
Orange: Okay, Watchable, Experimental Films
Red: Not Recommended