A silly, ridiculous, check-your-brain-at-the-door, but yet highly efficient sci-fi/action/thriller. There was absolutely no intelligence nor logic in the story and every plot-point was telegraphed and derivative, but yet director Daniel Espinosa has managed to pull off an excitingly, brisk thriller. There is no doubt that this film has many moments, in terms of tension, thrills, scares and gore, and truly, as long as you can accept (and forgive) the eye-rolling plot and the ghost-walking actors, Life was a fun 103 minutes.
Espinosa started the film off with so much potential. The opening action sequence emulated Alfonso Cuaron's Gravity with its well- choreographed one-track shot. And it was done really well. Giving us both a sense of dread, uncertainty and claustrophobia. Throughout the film, Espinosa and his Oscar-nominated Director of Photography Seamus McGarvey managed to maintain that scathing atmosphere which really helped to sell the thrills.
Unfortunately, the other element of an effective psychological thriller - the music - was less effective. Composer Jon Ekstrand's score was really more in-your-face rather than creeping under the skin. The strings would come on in a frenzy and you would know what is going to happen.
Life was written by Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick, and as old and as derivative as the story goes, there could have been so many ways the writing could have been better. Unfortunately, we get clunky lines, asinine character decisions and just plain stupidity all around. Perhaps knowing that, Espinosa chose to forgo logic and excel in the other facets of the film.
At least creature design was amazing. The alien was bloody creepy and terrifying.
This was obviously one of those films that Jake Gyllenhaal and Ryan Reynolds and even rising star, Rebecca Ferguson, did just for the money. Even the oft-reliable Gyllenhaal could not save it; Reynolds felt like he was ad-libbing mostly; and Ferguson was a pillar of British stoicism.
Then we have that ending, which oddly enough, if you know your geology, segues nicely into Legendary's Kong and its MonsterVerse. Maybe like Prometheus, it is all part of a larger story. One can only hope.