The Reel Review
A three person crew on a mission to Mars face a grueling decision when they discover an unplanned passenger onboard. His mere presence seriously jeopardizes the lives of everyone. Toni Collette, Anna Kendrick, Daniel Dae Kim (Lost, Hawaii Five-0) and Shamier Anderson (Destroyer, Dear White People) star in this sci-fi/thriller on Netflix.
Strong performances, an emotional score and realistic looking set helps ground this emotional tale from co-writer/director Joe Penna (Arctic). Although set in space with some terrific visual effects, the story itself is a more down to earth type emotional drama – basically, an exploration of the difficult sacrifices that must be made for the survival of the group under increasingly dire circumstances. For the sake of entertainment, we will ignore the utter ridiculousness that a stowaway could ever be on such a crucial mission.
Stowaway has a similar vibe to the 2013 Sandra Bullock sci-fi/thriller Gravity, just with a few more crowded spacecraft, sloppier technological aspects (um, radiation storms need an atmosphere to be “seen”) and a clearly smaller budget. The ending, while poignant, is unrealistically abrupt, given the science behind radiation exposure.
• Director Joe Penna initially planned to set his 2018 debut film Arctic on Mars with Stowaway being a sequel, changing it to the Arctic after 2015’s The Martian.
• The spacecraft used in the movie is a cycler, which is based on a real life project to reach Mars using gravity assist flybys instead of fuel, which also explains why the mission cannot be aborted in the film after the discovery of the stowaway.
• Stowaway was filmed at Bavaria Studios and MMC Studios in Germany.
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