Life : Review

In the near future, on-board the International Space Station (ISS), a group of scientists are expecting a capsule returning from Mars, carrying scientific samples for study, in the hopes of finding evidence of current or past life on the red planet. Wonder turns to amazement, when they discover a life form which begins to evolve at an alarming rate.

Soon, however, fear takes over as there is a very real threat to the station and possibly life on Earth, should this creature get past the many strict quarantine procedures.

The station’s crew, comprising of David Jordan (Jake Gyllenhaal – Everest, Nightcrawler), Miranda North (Rebecca Ferguson – The Girl On The Train, Mission Impossible – Rogue Nation), Ray Adams (Ryan Reynolds – Deadpool, Self / less), Kat (Olga Dykhovichnaya), Hugh Derry (Ariyon Bakare – Rogue One, Jupiter Ascending) and Sho Kendo (Hiroyuki Sanada – Minions, The Wolverine) must now regain control of a rapidly deteriorating situation in order to survive.

WIth a story premise, such as the one for Life, one would expect a lot of terror. There should be fear of the unknown, claustrophobia, and the menace that around each corner, death could lurk. While there are tense moments in the film, these feeling of dread does not hold as long as one would expect, or hope. Life is not a film about gore, and vicious monsters, but rather the fear of what might be, and what could happen. The crew of ISS know it, but this is not fully transferred over to the viewer.

Yet, as science fiction goes, Life is up there. Sure, the space station has had an upgrade, making it worthy of the cinematography. But the story remains grounded in the plausible, and real, made all the more believable by the talented ensemble cast making up the station crew.

As the story unfolds in the rather small setting, high above the Earth, there is at least room left for a few twists in the plot, which one is sure to debate, once the end credits role, as to whether those twists were obvious or foreshadowed.

A word of caution to those venturing to a cinema to see Life. The film is set in space, and on the ISS, meaning scenes do not take place in the sunlight, where all would have bright and shiney. Many cinemas are not equipped or correctly set up, with their projectors way too dark to see what is taking place. Not to mention some screens (Nouveau, Waterfront for one) not actually showing the entire image. Vote with your feet, and ensure you get the full experience.

Life opens 24 March 2017 in South African cinemas, and is stark look at what could be, when man seeks life beyond our planet.

By Andrew Germishuys

Founder of SAMDB, Andrew has worked full time in the film industry since the early 2000's. He has trained as an actor, completing his LAMDA Gold Medal, and attending many courses in Cape Town acting studios, with masterclasses with some of the international industries top directors, producers and filmmakers. Working as an actor and armourer in the film and television industry have given Andrew a great balance of skills across the board when it comes to the entertainment industry. Catch him on Twitter: Instagram: IMDb: