Title – Stowaway (2021)
Director – Joe Penna (Arctic)
Cast – Anna Kendrick, Toni Collette, Daniel Dae Kim, Shamier Anderson
Plot – A three person space crew on a two year mission to Mars discover they have an additional guest on board that may throw their entire objective into disarray.
“I’m only telling you this because I need you to be mentally prepared for what’s gonna happen”
Review by Eddie on 03/05/2021
Gathering together quite the cast for just his second feature length affair, Arctic director Joe Penna returns to the survival thriller genre once more to deliver a realistic sci-fi yarn for Netflix, that while featuring a truly intriguing central set-up, is a film that fails to capitalize on the talent and potential that lay at its fingertips.
Set entirely in out of space with just the four named cast members to keep things ticking along (a huge leap up for Penna considering his debut was a one man show), Stowaway captures us early on as Toni Collette’s commander Marina Barnett and her crew that consists of Anna Kendrick’s doctor Zoe and Daniel Dae Kim’s scientist David discover that their small space vessel harbors an unannounced addition in the form of Shamier Anderson’s Michael, a guest that’s motives are unclear and a potential burden too their mission that is set for Mars.
For the fist 30 or so minutes you can’t help but be intrigued by where Stowaway might be going, there’s a lot of questions about how Michael managed to get on board, what drew him to the ship and how the crew might manage to deal with an extra mouth to feed (both with food and oxygen) and Penna and his behind the scenes crew do well too capture the unlavish lifestyle of living in such a confined space ship but as time wears on you begin to feel as though the film is squandering its chances to create a twisting and turning space-themed narrative that fails to maximize the various elements that could’ve made it a streaming winner.
Without launching directly into spoiler territory, its safe to say that come the films latter half, this is despite a fairly well designed tension riddled set-piece finale that will have your knuckles whitening, the film peters out into nothing more than a mid-tier thriller that feels formulaic and familiar and one that will be quick to be forgotten by viewers as soon as the credits roll and Netflix is directing you to the next must-watch piece of their collection.
Its arguable that if the film had some more likable characters, with all of Collette, Kim, Kendrick (not always entirely convincing as a fearless astronaut) and Anderson doing decent work with rather bland and pedestrian caricatures, it may’ve stood a better chance to stand out from the crowd but in a genre that is ripe with great thrillers such as Gravity or Ad Astra, Stowaway feels like a missed opportunity to create something special and is a film that is entirely skippable without fear of missing out on something worthwhile.
Final Say –
It’s well put together and in the first instance fairly gripping but Stowaway gives way to an increasing sense of blandness and lack of answers to vital questions as its initially great set-up gets pushed aside for a so-so affair that never gets out of second gear.
2 1/2 vacuumed packed meals out of 5