“Life” (Columbia)

Ryan Reynolds and Jake Gyllenhaal star in a scene from the movie "Life." The Catholic News Service classification is A-III -- adults. (CNS/Columbia)

By Catholic News Service

Director Daniel Espinosa and screenwriters Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick adopt a serious tone in this ensemble sci-fi thriller set on board an international space station. Tasked with retrieving an unmanned capsule carrying samples back from Mars, the craft’s crew — Jake Gyllenhaal, Rebecca Ferguson, Ryan Reynolds, Olga Dihovichnaya, Hiroyuki Sanada and Ariyon Bakare — are thrilled to discover that they are in possession of the first living organism ever discovered beyond Earth. But the initially tiny creature they’ve taken on board turns out to have an incredibly rapid growth rate and a murderously aggressive approach to interacting with humans.

Loss of life is treated with an unusual degree of sober reflection in the suspenseful clash of wits and survival skills that follows, while deft performances and some creative camera work serve to offset the familiarity of the premise. But the bloody details of the alien’s rampage are suitable neither for kids nor for the squeamish among their elders.

Some gory deaths and gruesome images, a few uses of profanity, numerous rough and several crude terms. The Catholic News Service classification is A-III — adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R — restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian.

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