Rated: R for language throughout, some sci-fi violence and terror. Reviewed by: Frank Release date: March 24, 2017 Released by: Columbia Pictures
Six people locked in the international space station in orbit above the Earth become captive as an alien creature which was retrieved from Mars enters their quarters. Life is about space, but it reminds us of those simple novels where a group of folks are in a lonely place which is not reachable as one by one they disappear or are killed.
Life also brings to mind the very frightening space terror of Alien where each of the crew members systematically is destroyed by a slimy lizard like creature which is allowed to enter their ship by a questionable member of the crew. Life has some of the characteristics of each of those devices from the past which we have seen before.
While the first half of the film begins somewhat quietly even quiescent as we learn a little about some of the crew members. Jake Gyllenhaal is a long time space resident having been on the space station for more than a year. Hiroyuki Sanada is a new father who is able to observe the birth of his child on a hand held screen from his perch above the Earth. Not much time is given to learning the backgrounds of the other characters and that limits our concern for their potential survival or demise at the clutches of the fuzzy little creature which comes to the space station special delivery from Mars. Does this single-celled organism prove life can or has existed on Mars in the past? That is the original question the crew works to solve.
Not long into the alien's presence on the space station the fuzzy little character called, Calvin clutches the hand of Ariyon Bakare and as it begins to suck blood while destroying the appendage we quickly learn from that this little character is dangerous. Some of the publicity on the film suggests this entity alone or with others wiped out the population of Mars and therefore we are led to believe it could destroy human life on Earth if it is allowed to land on the planet.
The hardware on the space station, costumes, and devices filled with screens and colorful lighted buttons provide an interesting atmosphere in which the six space dwellers are captured by the devious and dangerous creature from the fourth planet in the solar system.
The process of attempting to destroy or ship out the alien and other activities which the crew partake in are often not clear, and some opportunities to use the equipment suddenly appear to be available even when not noticed earlier in the script that confusion is unnecessary.
Overall the action packed attempts by the six captives to survive in their home in space keeps tension on the screen, particularly in the second half of the film. But director, Daniel Espinosa doesn't allow for a nice clean ending, he sets the stage for a sequel and guess where that action will occur.