Thursday, April 22, 2021

Stowaway Review: An All-Star Cast Fight For Survival

Anna Kendrick	Anna Kendrick	...	Zoe Levenson Toni Collette	Toni Collette	...	Marina Barnett Daniel Dae Kim	Daniel Dae Kim	...	David Kim Shamier Anderson	Shamier Anderson	...	Michael Adams

Release date: April 22, 2021
Running time: 117 minutes
Directed by: Joe Penna
Written by: Joe Penna and Ryan Morrison
Starring: Anna Kendrick, Daniel Dae Kim, Shamier Anderson, and Toni Collette

On a mission headed to Mars, an unintended stowaway accidentally causes severe damage to the spaceship’s life support systems. The crew, Marina Barnett (Colette), Zoe Levenson (Kendrick), and David Kim (Kim) along with their unintended fourth member Michael Adams (Anderson), facing dwindling resources and a potentially fatal outcome, are forced to make an impossible decision.

Jordan Beckerman	...	executive producer Nate Bolotin	...	executive producer Maxime Cottray	...	executive producer Neshe Demir	...	co-producer Tara Finegan	...	executive music producer Russell Geyser	...	executive producer Bastian Griese	...	co-producer Jonas Katzenstein	...	producer Maximilian Leo	...	producer Jordan Yale Levine	...	executive producer Ryan Morrison	...	executive producer Jane Oster Sinisi	...	executive producer (as Jane Oster) Clay Pecorin	...	producer Joe Penna	...	executive producer Russ Posternak	...	executive producer Seth Posternak	...	executive producer Ulrich Schwarz	...	producer Nick Spicer	...	producer Aram Tertzakian	...	producer Jens Wolf	...	co-producer
Stowaway has a fantastic setting and a wonderful cast.  The movie spends most of its time on this rocket / space station but it is a really well done set and experience.  The movie does a great job of setting up these characters and this situation, taking its time to let you get to know everyone and their mission.  The opening is a treat to see, as is their first experience in space.  And with the film being set on a space station with only a few crew members, you really get to know these individuals and how they interact.  I really loved Anna Kendrick's character, as she tends to be the heart of the crew.  She is the more caring of the members and also ads some much needed levity.  However, the rest of the cast are no slouches and each one brings something different to the film.  And I also loved the commitment to diversity with the characters, including strong female (one of whom captains the mission) and minority characters.  Overall this was just a great group to get to know.

And when the film starts to become more of a thriller, little things about the movie start to up the tension.  For one, the sound is just fantastic.  A good space movie has to have great sound to really sell it and Stowaway is no exception. The space scenes have a wonderful, muted nature that causes you to really feel like you are on your own.  There is radio chatter between the crew, but the environmental sounds are deadened significantly.  And the communication in the film between the crew and Earth is also minimized.  In a smart move, you only get one side of the conversation, basically you only hear the crew speaking to Earth.  This again heightens the feeling of isolation as you really feel like the crew are on their own.

Space mission isolation disaster thriller supplies choice scary tension tense

However, where Stowaway is let down is by its story.  The film has a fantastic opening and a dramatic ending, but it feels like these pieces were written as the beginning and end points, with the middle sort of filled in with linking elements that get you to the end but don't form a fully coherent story.  The crew make some irrational decisions early on that then force the rather dramatic ending.  And, most importantly, many questions are left unanswered including one of the most crucial questions in the film.  It makes it feel like the story was rushed in the end or just didn't have enough time to cook to really make it impactful.  Although, with the film's run time of an hour and fifty seven minutes, I imagine material just had to be cut to fit it into a theatrical frame.  But I really wish that there was some more meat on this mission.  The movie could have been a really great space thriller, but the massive story holes and questionable decisions just leave this as a failed mission to Mars.

Stowaway's all-star cast, tense space situation, and sci-fi setup make for an exciting expedition, just one that could use a mission debrief after the fact.

Rent it.

Directed by  Joe Penna	Writing Credits   Joe Penna	 Ryan Morrison

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Stowaway is available on Netflix on April 22, 2021.

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