A well executed attempt at a tired genre, Life provides the viewers with enough thrills to make it a satisfying watch. Life tells the story of the six-member crew of the International Space Station that is on the cutting edge of one of the most important discoveries in human history: the first evidence of extraterrestrial life on Mars. As the crew begins to conduct research, their methods end up having unintended consequences and the life form proves more intelligent than anyone ever expected. With a runtime of 103 minutes, the film never drags and is constantly tense as the crew are hunted by the organism.
Though it follows the same tropes as other sci-fi/horrors, Life offers a more genuine approach to the genre. The film excels with its portrayal of zero gravity travel throughout the station and the wise decisions from the characters when faced with conflict. Life will always have classics such as Alien and The Thing holding it back from being a memorable film but it excels in enough departments to make it a solid film nonetheless.
The camera movements from director Daniel Espinosa are seamless as it glides through the different ports chasing the organism. With help from the production design, cinematographer Seamus McGarvey’s manages to isolate the characters as well as the viewer in the cold, quiet space station. The sound throughout the film is impeccable as the intense tone puts the audience through a rollercoaster of emotions.
The three top billed actors Jake Gyllenhaal, Rebecca Ferguson, and Ryan Reynolds do well with what they have to work with. The character dialogue itself isn’t always competent but for the most part the characters are fleshed out well with such a short run time. It’s easy to sympathize for these characters thanks to their development over the course of the first act.
The life form itself isn’t the most unique of a design but still manages to bring fear as it hunts down the crew members. Though the third act will divide viewers, it’s willing to go against the grain and offer an abnormal conclusion. For an early 2017 release Life is on the better side of the blockbuster spectrum. Life is well aware of the genre and the classics that came before it but still manages to tell a compelling enough story thanks to the cast and the crew behind the camera.