A thrilling and emotional new Sci-Fi movie to watch on Netflix.
Last December, I’ve praised George Clooney’s “The Midnight Sky” on Netflix for being bold and daring in its story about the last man on Earth warning the arriving astronauts that the planet is now inhabitable. More recently, the news broke out that the small test helicopter is working successfully on Mars. And now, I’m dishing Netflix’s latest Sci-Fi entry about a stowaway en route to Mars, who puts the crew at risk.
The title would be “Stowaway,” and it was co-written and directed by the Brazilian musician and filmmaker Joe Penna, who also made the thrilling “Arctic” with Mads Mikkelsen. He steps up his game with a Sci-Fi movie that doesn’t linger on the space special effects, but is more concerned about the story’s survival rate. And his “Arctic” writer and editor Ryan Morrison helped him with the script and scenes.
The movie begins with a team of astronauts-consisting of the doctor Zoe Levenson (Anna Kendrick), the commander Marina Barnett (Toni Collette), and the biologist David Kim (Daniel Dad Kim)-en route to Mars on a two-year mission to help make a more habitable planet. On the ship, they find an accidental stowaway-a launch support engineer named Michael Adams (Shamier Anderson)-who was knocked unconscious, and they’re moving too fast and too far away from Earth to turn around. That’s a problem for him, considering that he has a sister to look after.
The biggest problem begins when the Carbon Dioxide Removal Assembly (CDRA) gets damaged, and David risking years of research to buy them time with more oxygen. This experiment fails, which means they only have enough oxygen on the ship for two people, and his algae can produce oxygen for one more person. This means, unless they figure out something, Michael has to go. Zoe is the only one of the bunch who believes they save him.
“Stowaway” is one of those movies in which you don’t need to watch the trailer, but instead read the premise on IMDB, and see where it goes. At first, everything seems fine, but you still know there’s a catch, and that catch is the risk the stowaway is accidentally causing for the crew. It’s full of choices and risks, and has the ability to thrive on the story. You night not understand some of its science talk, but you’re more concerned about where it will go, and how the characters will adapt.
Anderson, whose acting credits include “Destroyer” and “City of Lies,” gives the best performance in the movie as an engineer, who worries about his sister on Earth, given the circumstances. His acting here is exceptional with strong emotions and a caring personality. He’s also able to connect well with Kendrick, who manages to overcome the cynicism on the ship. Kim is also wisely cast as the biologist with some ambition. And Collette delivers the goods as the ship’s commander. So, we have four great actors, all guided very well by Penna, and it’s intelligent to see their character acknowledge that this change of plans would bring to them.
The movie’s visuals are both beautiful and fun. As usual in a fresh space movie, the images match the blackness and stars with a certain mood. And I was also amazed at the long poles and ropes the astronauts must climb on in a later sequence, as well as a solar storm that they come across. They’re in shades of green, blue, and aqua, and it’s not often I get to praise their dangerous appearances on film.
Trust me, “Stowaway” delivers on its premise much better than “Voyagers” did. That was movie I said you would stay for the first half and then go out for drinks during the scene; but this one you need to stay for the whole show.
Streaming on Netflix