Something alien about ‘Life’

Is there life on Mars? After watching Life (Rialto and Reading) I sincerely hope not. 



Director: Daniel Espinosa
Cast: Rebecca Ferguson, Jake Gyllenhaal, Ryan Reynolds, Hiroyuki Sanada, Ariyon Bakare, Olga Dihovichnaya
Rating: (R13)
Three stars (out of five)


Set in the not-too-distant future, a scientific team has gathered in the International Space Station awaiting the arrival of an unmanned probe from Mars carrying a soil sample from the red planet.

Instead of introducing who knows what into Earth atmosphere, the orbiting space station is deemed to be the perfect quarantine environment.

Miranda North (Rebecca Ferguson), the newest member of the crew, is in charge of quarantine protocols.  David Jordan (Jake Gyllenhaal) has been on board the longest and Miranda is worried about his mental health as he seems determined to never return to Earth. The other crew member who seems a little off is Hugh Derry (Ariyon Bakare), the scientist in charge of analysing the sample and attempting to reanimate any organisms it may contain.

With ominous ease Hugh gets the single-cell organism found in the sample to divide and multiply. In a moment of cuteness, the crew names the evolving organism Calvin. Despite Miranda’s quarantine protocols, Calvin soon gets free and is not particularly grateful to those who have given it another shot at life.

While Life has enough shocks to keep an audience edgy and involved, my overwhelming feeling when it ended was that I wished I had re-seen Ridley Scott’s Alien instead.  The disciple had failed to match the master.

- Christine Powley

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