Another week rolls on by, and as we head into the weekend, we also head into new movie territory – and one of this week’s new movies is Stowaway, a sci-fi thriller from director Joe Penna. Stowaway tells the story of a small space crew, who encounter difficulties aboard their spaceship.
In the film, a three-person crew set off on a mission, heading for Mars. Twelve hours after launch, the crew discover a stowaway on board their spaceship.
The presence of an extra person is not planned, but allowances are made and everyone adapts to the situation. However, things take an unfortunate turn when the ship encounters problems with the air supply, leading the crew to accept that with four people on board the ship, there is no longer enough resources for everyone to survive the mission.
Stowaway is currently available to stream on Netflix in various parts of the world, including the UK. However, if you live in Canada, the movie is available on Amazon Prime Video.
The first thing to note about Stowaway is the fact that this is a very small-scale story. Sure, the film is set in the vastness of space, but for the most part, the events of the movie largely take place aboard a tightly packed, fairly claustrophobic ship.
The crew have to work closely together, every component in the ship has a purpose, and there’s not much room for any variables. All of this is made clear quite early on, and this helps the movie to build up tension.
The next thing to note, is that Stowaway has a minimal cast. There are only four actors in the entire picture: Toni Collette, Anna Kendrick, Daniel Dae Kim, and Shamier Anderson.
No other actors appear in the film – not even a few extras down at mission control. Any conversations that are had with external characters take place through earpieces, with the audience only privy to one side of the dialogue.
The whole movie is completely driven by the setting and just four performers. This is filmmaking at its most economical, and is arguably most reminiscent of Gravity – the Sandra Bullock/George Clooney Oscar-winner from 2013.
Now, if the setting was badly constructed this film would struggle; and if the actors weren’t more than capable, it would simply be a non-starter. But the space setting works well, and in the case of the actors, when you have Toni Collette and Anna Kendrick in the mix, you know you are onto a winner, and for the most part, Stowaway does win.
Stowaway crafts an engrossing story, it has the superb cast, and it knows exactly how to build tension. I found myself largely engaged with events as they unfolded and this engagement lasted for the majority of the movie.
But this is a slow burning tale and one which takes quite some time for the main plot to kick in. As such, I expect some audiences will find this all a little too sedate for their tastes, while those looking for lots of action will be supremely disappointed.
As mentioned above, Stowaway is perhaps most akin to Gravity, so depending on how much you enjoyed that movie, will probably determine your overall feelings on this one. It is in essence, a simple picture, but it is well made and if you get caught up in the story then you will find yourself emotionally invested.
Not for everyone, but Stowaway will find an audience and will be enjoyed by many. If slow-moving sci-fi thrillers are your thing, then be sure to give it a go.