• Guy Jeffries

Life Review


Director: Daniel Espinosa

Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Rebecca Ferguson, Ryan Reynolds, Hiroyuki Sanada, Olga Dihovichnaya, Ariyon Bakare.

Score: Jon Ekstrand

There should be a firm understanding of not what to do when venturing into the deep space of the unknown, especially when receiving a pod with God knows what. Three rules: 1. Do not accept Amazon Parcels from Mars. 2. Do not engage with extraterrestrial organisms no matter how cute they are, and 3. for God sake don't get on a space shuttle with Hiroyuki Sanada! We all saw what happened in Sunshine.

So, ignoring all three of those rules, we end up with Espinosa's, clearly Alien inspired film which also reminded me of The Thing and B-movie copies like The Dark Side of The Moon, DeepStar Six and Leviathan; and not the Murphy/Lawrence prison comedy. The premise here being an international space crew go to retrieve a floating pod that contains the first samples from Mars, and as the trailer suggests, there's a little nasty in the Petri dish.

Referencing the trailer, it does well to give us the basic plot but without giving away too much about the characters. I was actually expecting certain behaviours but was pleasantly surprised. Okay, it's a no-brainer that Reynolds brings his usual sarcasm on board. But it actually had some emotional depth and a strong element of fear whilst the crew members struggle with the conflict of survival or sacrifice.

Daniel Espinosa as director does a fine job of creating a tense atmosphere, something very similar to Alien but still retaining some originality. I always bang on about how hard it must be for writers and designers to come up with an alien that's original and believable without it being a ripoff or being totally ridiculous. Fortunately this clever, little space octopus is good at being bad, and horrifyingly gruesome at times giving us more than a couple of cringe worthy scenes.

Deadpool and Zombieland writers, Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick actually work a good story out of old science fiction, thriller material. However, plot-hole detectors will possibly rile themselves with the obvious stupidity of some key scenes. I suppose there's a lot unexplained, even with rich character development in the lead up to the breach, there's arguably more character here than Alien as we get to spend some quality time with the crew.

Something noticeable good here was Ekstrand's chilling score that really enhanced the suspense and mounting tension. He's does some ambient strings too, that only intensifies the terrifying horror that follows. Though, none of it sounds original and tracks like Godspeed, Doctor instantly remind me of Zimmer's Interstellar.

It's a captivating space thriller that keeps you on edge and quite unpredictable until, well, you'll see.

**SPOILER ALERT** spoilers written below the poster.

Running Time: 9

The Cast: 9

Performance: 8

Direction: 9

Story: 6

Script: 7

Creativity: 7

Soundtrack: 8

Job Description: 8

The Extra Bonus Point: 0

Would I buy the Blu-ray?: Yeah.

67% 7/10

**SPOILER ALERT**Should Calvin ever reach Earth surely the fact he was born into a zero gravity environment would have a massive detrimental effect on him? Had to ask. Totally ruining the film, it could be Disney's live action origin story of Lilo & Stitch. Calvin's not all that bad. Really. Just needs a hug.

#DanielEspinosa #JakeGyllenhaal #RebeccaFerguson #RyanReynolds #HiroyukiSanada #OlgaDihovichnaya #AriyonBakare #JonEkstrand #RhettReese #PaulWernick