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‘Life’ – Movie Review

Ryan Reynolds in ‘Life’

Cast: Ryan Reynolds, Jake Gyllenhaal, Rebecca Ferguson, Hiroyuki Sanada, Olga Dihovichnaya, Ariyon Bakare
Director: Daniel Espinosa

What would happen if scientists on an International Space Station(ISS) find life forms in Mars’ soil Samples? Director Daniel Espinosa sets out to educate us on that.

Six Astronaut/Scientists Dr. David Jordan (Jake Gyllenhaal), Dr. Miranda North (Rebecca Ferguson), Rory Adams (Ryan Reynolds), Hugh Derry (Ariyon Bakare), Sho Kendo (Hiroyuki Sanada) and Captain Katerine Golovkin (Olga Dihovichnaya) are studying soil samples gathered from Martian surface by an unmanned probe, onboard the international Space Station. And it’s quite a heady moment when they discover that life exists – even if it seems dormant and parasitic in nature, under a microscope. And that’s not for long either. A contained Lab that mimics Earth’s atmosphere doesn’t help jerk the parasite into life so they try another atmosphere with more CO2 and Nitrogen and less Oxygen and voila the parasite nicknamed Calvin wakes up and begins to grow at an alarming rate. Calvin is immensely adaptable and severely aggressive and the Astronaut/Scientists could find themselves at risk which in turn could put the entire future of Earth at risk.

Structured as a thriller, and it’s edge-of-the-seat variety – provided you ignore the mammoth stupidity ( much like a generic horror movie) that purposefully allows for the tragedy to unfold.

A survival story in space is a done-to-death concept no doubt but Daniel Espinosa has something experimentally engaging to make this ‘Aliens’ meets ‘Gravity’ concept fairly entertaining. Writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick base their storyline on stupidity but Espinosa manages to overcome that debilitating handicap to keep the thrills coming- and quite elegantly at that. But that’s to be expected. This is a space horror thriller executed with a lot of verve. The performances are realistic. Gyllenhaal, Ferguson, Sanada, Olga Dihovichnaya are top-notch. Ryan Reynolds is his usual playful self but his brief role doesn’t give him time to spread the happiness around.

The narrative starts off steady and calm , gets excited for a brief bit and then the tension takes over, incrementing as each of the scientists find themselves caught-up in a nightmare that may not have a way out. But that’s an experience only if you keep your head in the clouds. The science here is terribly wobbly and to think that trained scientists ignored the simplest method to eliminate the alien, makes disbelief sit up and take notice. Genre thrills are all very well only if they come in a sound package. This one’s merely pretty, brief, aesthetically designed and maybe just a trifle enjoyable!

Watch ‘Life’ trailer

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