Reviewed by: Alexander Malsan
What does the Bible say about intelligent life on other planets? Answer
Are we alone in the universe? Answer
Does Scripture refer to life in space? Answer
questions and answers about the origin of life
|Featuring:||Jake Gyllenhaal … David Jordan
Rebecca Ferguson … Miranda North
Ryan Reynolds … Roy Adams
Olga Dihovichnaya … Kat
Ariyon Bakare … Hugh Derry
Hiroyuki Sanada … Sho Kendo
Naoko Mori … Kazumi
Alexandre Nguyen … 1st Fisherman
Camiel Warren-Taylor … Dominique
Hiu Woong-Sin … 2nd Fisherman
|Director:||Daniel Espinosa—“Safe House” (2012), “Child 44” (2015)|
|Distributor:||Columbia Pictures, a division of Sony Pictures|
“Be careful what you search for… We were better off alone / Fear life. Not death.”
Here’s what the distributor says about their film: “Life is a terrifying sci-fi thriller about a team of scientists aboard the International Space Station whose mission of discovery turns to one of primal fear when they find a rapidly evolving life form that caused extinction on Mars, and now threatens the crew and all life on Earth.
The six-member crew of the International Space Station 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.”
Six astronauts on board of the International Space Station have achieved, to many, the impossible…the discovery of the extra-terrestrial life on Mars. On board the station, five astronauts (Miranda, David, Roy, Kat and Sho) stand outside of a quarantined room where one of the lead scientists, Hugh, examines the extra-terrestrial (no larger than a leaf) residing inside a small container). Hugh and his colleagues soon ask the ultimate question: how has this creature survived on a planet like Mars for so long?
Over time, one scientist in particular, Hugh, almost obsessively, spends more and more time with the extraterrestrial, whom the group has named Calvin. After showing signs of life, however, Calvin begins to hibernate and after making such progress, Hugh asks “Why?” So what does Hugh do? Well he gives Calvin a little jolt… no literally… a jolt of electricity to stimulate Calvin.
There’s an old saying, “Let sleeping dogs lie.” In this case, as the astronauts soon they discover, Hugh should’ve left Calvin hibernate. No sooner, after awakening from his slumber, Calvin escapes his prison and begins to wreak havoc aboard the International Space Station
So much for a CONTROLLED experiment.
Writing a review about the film, “Life” has been somewhat frustrating, as I’m rather tossed on my feelings for the film. There are good and bad aspects. As such, I’ve decided it’s best to summarize my thoughts on the film as bullet points. So here goes…
• Level of Violence: Violence is often graphic, disturbing, and, in some instances, nauseating (there are multiple scenes involving blood. More on violence to be discussed in the Content portion of the review).
• Character Development: As is common in horror films, character development falls by the way side, and “Life” is no exception. To be frank, I walked in not really knowing who the characters were, and I walked OUT not knowing who they really were and, frankly, did not care about who survived and who did not.
• Overall the pacing of the film is steady. There were only a couple instances, about half way into the film, where I found some of the dialog to be rather tedious and mundane.
• The Visuals: What the film may lack for in development and, occasionally, pacing (it varied) the visuals of the film were spectacular, particularly during the first fifteen minutes of the film where we are treated to breath taking detail of space and the Earth.
• The scoring of the film was solid, providing the necessary adrenaline for the horror sequences, as well as the more quiet moments, of the film.
Violence: Heavy to Extreme. As mentioned earlier, Hugh tries to wake Calvin up by shocking him with electricity. Other characters try to kill Calvin through means of fires, thrusters, and again, more electrical shocks. Calvin is quite brutal in his encounters with his caretakers. In the first encounter, Calvin devours Hugh’s hand. We later see the remains of Hugh’s former hand (it is bloodied and no longer resembles a hand). In another scene, Calvin crawls inside a character’s body and kills the character from the inside (we see a large amount of blood coming from the character’s mouth as the character slowly dies). Other characters are fully devoured by Calvin. Another character drowns when Calvin cause coolant to fill insider her helmet. Other characters have parts of their body devoured and dead bodies are often seem floating throughout the station. Lastly, a lab rat is graphically devoured by Calvin (the rat is alive during the digestion process, and we watch as each layer of the rat is shown).
Profanity: J*sus (3), J*sus Christ, Oh J*sus, Oh G*d, My G*d, and For G*d's sake. Vulgarity: The f-word is 30+ times in the film (2 in the form of mother-f**ker), and the s-word (10).
Sexual Comment: One of the astronauts, Sho, watches his wife give birth to their daughter. In announcing that his wife bore a daughter, one of the astronauts asks, “So who’s the father?”
Other: During an interview an astronaut is asked, by children, how they go to the bathroom on the station, to which the astronaut shows the children the device they use.
Even as write my final thoughts on the film, I’m still confused as to whether I would recommend “Life” for viewing. On the one hand, did I enjoy the film? To an extent, yeah. The pacing is good, the performances (not the development) are pretty decent, and the cinematography is relatively strong. On the other hand, there is a lot of graphic violence to contend with, and the character development is weak. The violence alone is enough for me to dissuade Christians from seeing this film. “Life” is NOT for children or young teens—adults only. My final thought: go with caution.
Violence: Very Heavy / Profanity: Heavy to extrem / Sex/Nudity: Minor
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.
…Get prepared for the most intense two hours of your life… [4/5]
—Jessica Walford, Metro [UK]
…“Life” is far better than the trailers made this me-too outer-space opus look. …could have used a few more cathartic laughs, although it’s a relief that the entire movie isn’t as self-aware or sarcastic as the writers’ reputation-making “Zombieland.”…
—Peter Debruge, Variety
…It’s far from perfect, but Life’s worth living for two freaky hours. …
—Brian Truitt, USA Today
…“Life” struck me as several cuts above “meh” but never made me jump out of my seat. The picture takes place almost entirely on a claustrophobic, labyrinthine space station… 
—Glenn Kenny, RogerEbert.com
…it’s not very good… The primary suspense comes from wondering whether the killings will follow the reverse order of star billing. …
—Ben Kenigsberg, The New York Times
…like a box of mediocrity. …space horror thriller undercuts its effective tension with clichéd scares…
—Blake Goble, Consequence of Sound
…The picture struggles to find a satisfying rhythm… most would be quite surprised if Life's hints at a sequel lead to even a single spinoff, much less the decades-long afterlife enjoyed by Ridley Scott and Dan O'Bannon's versatile face-hugger.…
—John DeFore, The Hollywood Reporter