First things first in 2004 there were two movies made called "The Life" this one and one called "The Life: What's Your Pleasure?" which is also known as "Yo puta". This movie is a cop movie about Vancouver's Downtown Eastside the other "The Life" is supposedly an examination of prostitution and only the 2nd movie which I have started to watch and quit on. Trust me if you value your time watch this movie about Vancouver rather than the other and whilst it is a made for TV movie it certainly isn't some throw away piece of entertainment with a gritty and at times uncomfortable side.
Now how to describe "The Life", well it is almost like a fly on the wall as we follow cops Arnie (Bruce Greenwood - I Robot) and Tony (Brian Markinson - High Noon) as they patrol the drug and prostitute filled streets of Vancouver's Downtown Eastside. As such we get presented with a very grim picture of what life is like for those living in the area, how it is hard to escape the life and how no matter how much the police do there is always more of it going on. At times the grim reality it paints of life in the Downtown Eastside takes you aback for the rawness from scenes of drug use, prostitutes as well as the ugliness of drug addiction.
On the same sense of reality we also see the compassionate side of cops through Arnie and Tony who rather than just trying to clean up the streets are trying to prevent it continuing by helping those who can be helped. We also see how they face an uphill battle to educate the youth who typically don't think what they describe will happen to them. It makes them both incredibly easy to warm to and feel for as they continuously try to police the area.
But "The Life isn't just a fly in the wall because it has storylines from Arnie and Tom trying to help Crystal (Alisen Down) and addict clean up her act to trying to track down runaway Amber (Katharine Isabelle) who has fallen into a life of prostitution. These dramatic elements give the movie the energy it needs but never turning it into a typical cop drama about entertaining chases and so on.
What this all boils down to is that "The Life" is a compassionate eye opener which whilst probably different to what most people typically watch will have you gripped by presenting the audience with real characters in a hard situation.