Life | Salt Lake City Weekly


Rated R 103 minutes 2017

★★★★★ ★★★★★
It’s amazing how far we’ve come technologically since Alien in 1979, yet how little filmmakers have actually learned. This science-fiction thriller finds six crew members on the International Space Station—including Jake Gyllenhaal, Ryan Reynolds and Rebecca Ferguson—facing the threat of a strange, hostile life form recovered from Mars. It’s awfully hard to completely ruin the creature-in-an-enclosed space premise, and director Daniel Espinosa offers up at least a few genuinely tense, unsettling scenes as the intruder starts picking off victims. But the central dilemma—maintaining containment protocols to make sure the alien never gets to earth—feels too abstract, especially when the characters are given between zero and one character traits each. And even that wouldn’t be a deal-breaker, except that the CGI antagonist—which initially resembles a luminescent starfish—never becomes the kind of thing of which real movie nightmares are made. H.R. Giger’s Alien xenomorph might be a particularly hard act to follow, but if a movie is built entirely around people trying to avoid a deadly something, it’s pretty important that the audience’s response to it is AAAAAAGGHHH rather than, “huh, that’s weird.”

Film Credits

Official Site:

Director: Daniel Espinosa

Producer: David Ellison, Dana Goldberg, Bonnie Curtis, Julie Lynn, Don Granger and Vicki Dee Rock

Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal, Rebecca Ferguson, Ryan Reynolds, Hiroyuki Sanada, Ariyon Bakare, Olga Dihovichnaya, Alexandre Nguyen and Camiel Warren-Taylor



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