Thursday 23 March 2017

Life ... Keeping out the alien (refugees)

SPACE horror film Life is about a sample from Mars that grows from humble beginnings to a killer
that will stop at nothing to survive. Naturally, in most horror films, there's an abundance of people for the evil specimen to devour with gusto.
  I am not ashamed to say that Life is the first horror film to make me jump out of my seat; the scare is so unexpected. You watch with fear at how the killer stalks its prey and you pray that the humans can survive the onslaught, despite the many protocols or barriers they have put in place.
  At first glance, Life seems like your typical horror film. Dig deeper, however, and a different story appears. The alien specimen probably refers to refugees, and the International Space Station probably refers to a host of Western nations and Japan that opened its arms to welcome them.
   A researcher, Hugh Derry (Ariyon Bakare), refers to the specimen as "beautiful", but it soon grows and becomes dangerous and parasitic.
   A beautiful doctor, Miranda North (Rebecca Ferguson of Mission: Impossible -- Rogue Nation), is concerned about protecting the spacecraft. Her first protocol is to confine the specimen to the laboratory. Her second protocol is to confine it to the spacecraft. Her last protocol is something you'll see at the end.
  Her focus on protocols is worth noting because they are a euphemism for border controls. If the first
Jake Gyllenhaal and Rebecca Ferguson float about the ISS.
border control fails, there is a fallback control. And if that fails too, one can expect the worst. .
   But before the specimen wreaks havoc on the close confines of the space station, the film introduces us to a bunch of six hardworking and jocular astronauts.
   There are Derry, North, maintenance guy Rory Adams (Ryan Reynolds), ex-military man David Jordan (Jake Gyllenhaal), Russian commander Ekaterina Golovkina (Olga Dihovichnaya) and Japanese computer technician Sho Murakami (Iroyuki Sanada).
  Jordan loves living on the ISS and can't stand what people do to each other on Earth. Is he referring to the US imposing its might on other nations and Trump being a God-sent hate object for the Islamic State?
   The arrival of the single-cell Martian sample sets off a round of dancing on the ISS, with the crew excited about the first proof of life beyond Earth. The sample looks docile and cute, but appearances can be deceiving.
  I enjoyed the claustrophobic setting of the ISS and how the meek and mild specimen turns
'Life' isn't a bed of roses for Jake. 
on its hosts. The editing and music are riveting and will keep viewers on the edge of their seats.
  The tense atmosphere is cranked up as the crew quickly becomes cognisant of the specimen's true colours.
   I was enthralled watching the specimen figuring out how to outsmart the humans, who believe their protocols or firewalls can prevent them from being harmed and overrun.
   They're just like Western governments who watched helplessly as refugees overwhelmed their borders and swept into their countries.

3½ out of 5 stars



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