LIFE is the type of movie that gives you faith in Hollywood. The term “popcorn flick” is generally derogatory and expecting good acting from one is usually a pipe dream. LIFE, however, takes that stereotype and turns it on its head.
Often, these movies create character backstories with the express purpose of generating sympathy before killing off a character. What LIFE does well is keep this device from becoming overly manipulative. The story is clearly not in the character’s backgrounds, but the action on screen. By keeping the backstory simple, it doesn’t detract from the real reason for buying a ticket: two hours of entertainment.
Casting Jake Gyllenhaal was a coups for LIFE, giving it indie film credibility to help elevate it from becoming “just” another alien movie. Gyllenhaal garnered an Oscar nomination for his role in BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN and is known for selecting roles in interesting projects.
Ryan Reynolds, too, earned new respect with last year’s success of DEADPOOL, a character he worked to bring to the big screen for years.
Hiroyuki Sanada has won two awards from the Japanese Academy, the equivalent of the American Oscars.
In short, this cast served as more than place holders that absolutely anyone could have filled, as is frequently the case in this genre. LIFE managed to transition from being a [derogatory] “popcorn flick” to a genuinely good suspense movie. Perhaps, in fact, to the surprise of all involved.
For more about LIFE, take a look below:
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