Stowaway (2021) - 6/10
Yet another space drama. Visually we’re in the realms of SpaceX here rather than NASA. Sorry NASA but SpaceX looks cooler... and this does look cool. Three astronauts are off to Mars. It feels remarkably contemporary and kinda everyday in way, almost unremarkable. Although not to Zoe (Anna Kendrick) who is very excited with even the mundanities of her first mission. She’s the doctor on board with Marina (Toni Collette) who’s in charge and David (Daniel Dae Kim) who gets travel sick on take off. They’re a nice bunch and get on well. Good thing seeing they’ll be out in space for 2 years. All is well until they discover Michael (Shamier Anderson) hiding behind a panel. Not a surprise of course, it’s in the title. His arrival sets in motion a series of events that threaten the crew and tests everyone’s moral compass. With damage to the ship, inadequate supplies, it’s the classic life raft situation. Other films may add some sinister twist, something to unhinge the narrative, but what’s interesting here is there’s none of that. The circumstances are a mere accident. No fault, no blame. It’s a lesson in calm rational thought and it’s really quite engaging because of it. That rational thought is put to the test when they realise the life support is goosed. It gets a bit A-Team, but without the pacy cuts and blow torches. “Keep your cool. Over communicate and take your time. Do not rush.” Nothing about this is pacy. It’s slow, methodical, but it works for the most part. The production values are spot on and the cast all hit their marks. It boils down to 4 people on board a ship built for 3. Something or someone’s gotta give. Full on guilt trip, what would you do stuff. There’s some real head scrambling questions posed and it relies heavily on the cast to put some weight into them. That’s not to say there’s no peril, danger or tension. It’s hard to avoid it in space and it makes for some great cinematography. Sadly all the good will it builds, it does give away as the finale plays out rather hackneyed and fizzles out disappointingly. Shame, but it’s worth a watch.