The Last Days on Mars

Lots, after fellow crew member (Goran Kostic, Taken) gets greedy enough to lay claim to finding life on Mars, in the form of a viral bacteria. To spill what happens next would spoil the surprise the film has up its well-padded sleeve; suffice to say, The Last Days on Mars has Alien's DNA all over it … and speaking of Alien, this film is more satisfying than Prometheus.

It's also the movie John Carpenter's ill-fated Ghosts of Mars should have been; like Ridley Scott, that master of horror clearly has influenced feature-debuting director Ruairi Robinson. The Irishman marries the hard science of many a sci-fi novel with an EC Comics treatment; the result shines with a clean, crisp elegance thanks to Jon Henson's wonderful production design and Max Richter's ominous score. One also shouldn't discount strong, stoic support from Romola Garai (TV's The Crimson Petal and the White and Elias Koteas (Shutter Island).

If the story contains one too many suit breaches — and it does — it also sticks to its guns to appeal to the more intelligent viewer of the genre, for whom titles like Moon and Sunshine are far more preferable than the fluff of Armageddon and its empty-minded ilk.    —Rod Lott

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The Crimson Petal and the White DVD review