arealcinephile’s review published on Letterboxd:
Stowaway is a 2021 Space Sci-Fi Psychological Drama written and directed by Joe Penna who previously worked on survival thriller the Arctic starring Mads Mikkelsen. This movie is produced by XYZ films with a budget of $10 Million and distributed by Netflix. The cast consists of Academy Award Nominee Toni Collette, Daniel Day Kim, Anna Kendrick and Shamier Anderson.
The plot of the movie is about a Three-Person crew Mars mission is in deep trouble when they find out a stowaway in their spaceship and their motives, humane nature and morals come into play for their survival. I went into the movie expecting typical generic space drama like Sunshine or Alien but this movie is fresh air among its counterparts. The movie starts with its well crafted 20 mins. The acting is solid from the cast. I was so glad to see Daniel Dae Kim in big projects these days after the Lost TV series he brought back so much nostalgia. The set design and the cinematography are not groundbreaking but not too shabby either. It captivated me the entire run time I wasn't bored. The story was a bit predictable at times but there are a few problems with the story and plot I personally noticed. For a low budget movie, it delivered more than I was expecting it to deliver and I enjoyed the movie till the last second. I loved the entire spacewalk sequence and the O2 filling sequence is thrilling and exciting. I totally loved the friendly banter between Anna and Daniels character like how she annoys him by bringing Yale Mug in the limited baggage where Daniel is a Harvard Alumni and they are toe to toe rivals with Yale. The music in this film is emotional, tense, and thrilling thanks to amazing Volker Bertelmann. It has realistic characters and no unnecessary drama and they did react most of the times as normal people additionally no unwanted actions scenes are the things that stood out most for me.
Although I enjoyed the movie There are few problems in the movie. The biggest letdown of the movie for me was they didn't explain why Micheal was in that compartment as a stowaway. I mean it's bolted from outside and he wasn't found till Toni Collette's character checked what's the blood that's dropping from here. I wanted and expected some kind of back story that would clear things up looking at the runtime but I was disappointed. Also, I found that 3 people on an important space mission was a bit weird. There ain't no engineers or mission specialists. Yeah, I know that Micheal is an engineer but my point still stands 'cause why does a doctor have to explain to an engineer wtf is a CO2 Scrubber. They are missing real engineering with real-time experience. Talking about CO2 Scrubber it is a major component in a space mission why doesn't Hyperion/NASA put another spare component just for an emergency I mean the component is replaceable. On another hand, if CO2 Scrubber broke and they only have O2 for survival how the hell will they survive when a machine that converts released CO2 to O2 is damaged and you will probably die from CO2 Poisoning doesn't Tom Hanks Apollo 13 talk about that?
Also, no tether during the spacewalks damn who written the script are you guys out of your mind it's fucking dangerous. I found that bit unrealistic for a movie that's realistic on many fronts. I felt like they ended move real quick without proper closure. I mean did they make it? I would've loved a memorial held for Anna character in the end with some pictures and speech like to balance a bad mood with a good one. Also, the solar flare plot twist was bit dumb I mean come on you already have high tech advanced systems to go to Mars but don't have a freaking radar system or something to alert you about upcoming solar flare days ago? These are few minor problems I had an issue with but they aren't major issues for me the movie worked in the end even with all those flaws.
The ending scene is beautiful I mean I didn't like it but it's visually pleasing with all green solar flares and emotional music. I really found this movie to be a fresh cup of tea after many space movies and compared to the garbage Hollywood produces this one is better than those. It’s natural not violent or doesn’t have any unnecessary space tropes While it's not groundbreaking or amazing space movie of any sorts it's still a good watch on a chilly weekend I was impressed with most parts even with its flaws in the movie.
“You never know where life’s gonna take you. Yes, I applied to the HARP Program because I thought it would be a funny story to be rejected by Hyperion. But now I realise this is one of those rare opportunities that could truly give my life a meaning beyond anything I could imagine”