Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Film Review: "Life" (2017).

"We were better off alone."
 For Life is not what we had hoped for. This science fiction horror film directed by Daniel Espinosa, and written by Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick. Life tells the tale 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.

In November 2015, Deadline reported that Daniel Espinosa would helm the science fiction horror from a script from Deadpool writers Paul Wernick and Rhett Reese. David Ellison and Dana Goldberg, of Skydance Media, along with Bonnie Curtis and Julie Lynn would produce. Paramount Pictures, Skydance's regular distributor, was interested in handling the distribution rights to the film. However, in March 2016, it was announced that Sony Pictures signed on to handle the worldwide distribution rights and to co-finance the film with Skydance. This marked Skydance's 1st project not released by Paramount. By July 2016, Espinosa had assembled his cast with established leading and characters which included Jake Gyllenhaal, Rebecca Ferguson, Ryan Reynolds, Hiroyuki Sanada, Ariyon Bakare and Olga Dihovichnaya. Originally, Reynolds intended to play the main character, but scheduling conflicts with The Hitman's Bodyguard (2017) forced him to take a supporting part instead. The casting of Reynolds make this film his second collaboration with director Espinosa, after Safe House (2012). In the same month, Principal photography on the film began, the film was primarily shot at Shepperton Studios, outside London. Originally slated for a March 24th 2017 release date, the film was ultimately moved up to a May 26, 2017 in order to avoid competition with Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales (2017).

The film stars Gyllenhaal, Ferguson, Reynolds, Sanada, Bakare and Dihovichnaya. The performances in the film were well-acted and thus differentiates itself from all the other science fiction horror flicks. As each cast member are equally given enough characterisation where not one cast member is the lead, rather making it an ensemble piece.

The majority of Life portrays itself as an empty bag of tricks whose production values and expensive special effects can not hide this unfortunate fact. The film is basically just an intergalactic haunted house thriller set inside a spaceship, in the tradition of Alien (1979) and The Thing (1982). Making it a disappointment. However, we can still enjoy its unique weirdness, and the story is solid enough. It's still scary and entertaining stuff. Though now I have the feeling that nothing in it lives up to the tremendously audacious ending. It personifies the definition of "popcorn entertainment" - that is, the kind of film that relishes the thrill of its many ambitious moments without seeking total transcendence. So if you want cinematic kicks, Daniel Espinosa's film will give you them in profusion. It is still a worthwhile big budget flick amongst today's Hollywood slate.

Simon says Life receives:

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