Daniel Espinosa’s Life has enough claustrophobic tension and alien weirdness to make it a diverting but not groundbreaking entry in that sci-if sub genre of film that warns of reckless poking and probing of things best left alone. They differ from those films that depict alien intervention in our destructive nuclear build up (The Day The Earth Stood Still) or nuclear experimentation (Godzilla). Life’s message seems to be that curiosity – in this case wondering about life on Mars – can kill a bunch of cats, especially if they are trapped in a $200 billion tin can orbiting the Earth. The cast playing the international space station crew includes Ryan Reynolds doing his glib alpha dog thing as project engineer, Jake Gyllenhaal doing his pensive beta male thing as the medical officer and Rebecca Ferguson as a lovely crew member with no discernible duties. Things go bad for the crew after they retrieve a Mars probe carrying soil samples and the project’s biologist (Ayrion Bakare) jumpstarts some dormant cells that develop an unhealthy attachment to the crew. The story might not be original but the alien is a pretty cool creation. The ending might be a bit too cynical for some however.


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