Film Review – Life

DIRECTED BY: Daniel Espinosa

STARRING: Jake Gyllenhaal, Ryan Reynolds, Rebecca Ferguson, Hiroyuki Sanada, Ariyon Bakare and Olga Dihovichnaya



A team of scientists aboard the International Space Station discover a rapidly evolving life form, that caused extinction on Mars, and now threatens the crew and all life on Earth.

Life takes us to the International Space Station where a six-member crew have made one of the most important discoveries in human history; they’ve concrete evidence of extraterrestrial life on Mars. As the crew begins their research and inspect the life form, which leads to dire consequences as the life form proves to be more intelligent and dangerous than they could have imagined.

Life is a sci-fi film directed by Daniel Espinosa which focuses on a six-member crew onboard the International Space Station where they perform a successful capture of a probe returning from Mars which contains a soil sample from the planet. The crew are tasked to study the sample to provide first hand evidence of extraterrestrial life. As they discover a single organism and begin to study it (as well as have it named Calvin), the life form proves to be more intelligent than they imagined and thus being more dangerous than they feared.


Life is a finely directed effort from Daniel Espinosa, with the production design and art direction also solid from Nigel Phelps and Steven Lawrence, with some good cinematography work from Seamus McGarvey and also the score from Jon Ekstrand I enjoyed alot. Overall the film is solid in all departments, it feels atmospheric as well as claustrophobic once Calvin gets lose on the space station. The special effects I thought was really well done with the simplistic look of Calvin at the start, to Calvin’s evolved state as the film progresses and once Calvin starts attacking the crew, I was immersed in those scenes and never felt that the cast were reacting to a green ball/blob/tissue that would get worked on by the VFX team to be Calvin. The performances I felt were pretty solid too amongst the cast, particularly Jake Gyllenhaal and Rebecca Ferguson as one particular highlight they shared a scene together where the characters are shivering away and the importance of the dialogue between them, I was impressed by that scene.


Well Life is well constructed film visually and practically from the set/art designs as well as the score and directing, unfortunately the film doesn’t offer anything new in terms of the story and script. The film can’t escape how it reminds you of other films that came before it like Alien with the setting, the organism and the case of survival that follows. While the characters make mostly logical decisions from a team of scientists standpoint, there’s a few scenes where you wonder how ‘this’ happened, like one in particular involving Ariyon Bakare’s character Hugh Derry.



While the film may not bring anything new to the table other than remind you of a certain film that involves an alien in space chasing humans, Life is a very well made film from Daniel Espinosa, with solid work on the set/art designs, cinematography, score and visual effects departments. The performances are good also amongst the cast, particularly Gyllenhaal and Ferguson with an ending you see coming a mile off but I liked. You may know the beats and destination of the film but I liked the journey along the way.  6/10



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