It’s Alien meets The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Okay, not exactly—but what director Ridley Scott’s Prometheus has in common with the dark Swedish murder-mystery is star Noomi Rapace, who headlines this highly entertaining sci-fi thriller. This is the film that properly introduces Rapace to American audiences (as opposed to last year’s only mildly entertaining Sherlock Holmes sequel). Here, she plays Elizabeth Shaw, an archeologist who comes to believe from evidence on prehistoric cave drawings that humanity may have originated far from Earth. Enter the scientific vessel “Prometheus” to take Shaw and her crew out of this world to hopefully uncover the truth. But you just know that the answers (if there will be any) won’t come so easy—nor will everyone walk out of such a dangerous mission alive.
Prometheus poses intriguing questions and thoughts on the origins of human life (and even the notion of faith, through Rapace’s character) but presents such a theme in an absolutely thrilling and rewarding way. As a sort-of prequel to Scott’s Alien, it helps if you’ve seen the 1979 classic; if you haven’t, it won’t prevent you from being absorbed by Prometheus. A love for sci-fi isn’t really required either because the film entertains through an accessible story, an excellent cast (which also includes Charlize Theron, an unrecognizable Guy Pearce, and an android-playing Michael Fassbender), strong visuals and some seriously good thrills and scares. Although physically rather small in stature, Rapace is a strong presence here and was an excellent choice for the lead. This comes as no surprise to me—just watch her in Tattoo and you’ll know what I’m talking about (more on this below).
It’s refreshing that Scott didn’t tone down the thrills and horrors to get a summer-safe “PG-13” rating but instead went for a more grown-up “R.” But no matter its rating, Prometheus is thrilling and incredible through and through—it’s easily one of the best of the summer.
4 ½ out of 5 stars
A group of explorers discover a clue to the origins of mankind on Earth, leading them on a journey to the darkest corners of the galaxy. There, they must fight a terrifying battle to save the very future of humanity.
Also with Rapace:
Yes, Rooney Mara was flat-out incredible in 2011’s U.S. take on The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo—but that certainly doesn’t mean we’re supposed to just forget that the role of Lisbeth Salander on the big screen originated with the awesome Noomi Rapace in the 2009 Swedish take of the Stieg Larsson novel. Rapace is all kinds of awesome in Tattoo and it’s because of her that we are invested in the Lisbeth character and the film’s intriguing murder mystery. After seeing this film, she became one to watch and I’m glad American audiences who haven’t seen Tattoo are discovering her now in Prometheus. But that’s just cheating—see her work in Tattoo now that you know about her and be in awe of her talent.