Netflix: Stowaway

When it rains, it pours.

Stowaway is a rare film of its ilk; that being something I’m looking forward to coming direct to Netflix. Shot in 2019, Stowaway was picked up by Sony for worldwide distribution while Netflix got the rights in America and Amazon Prime got the rights in Canada. I have no idea why Sony didn’t want to distribute the movie in either of these two countries, but that’s beside the point.

Stowaway falls into the realm of what I call Sci-Fe, or science feasible. It accompanies stories like The Martian where the science seems realistic enough to be believable, and likely has a deep basis in the real world, but with just enough liberties to keep a good plot going. I have no clue how scientifically accurate Stowaway is, and I honestly don’t care to read Cinema Blend’s garbage clickbait article that’ll be up before the weekend.

The entire movie is made up of four actors. A three scientist team made up of Zoe Levenson (Anna Kendrick), David Kim (Daniel Dae Kim), and Marina Bennett (Toni Collette) are on a mission to Mars. The mission goes haywire off the bat when an unexpected stowaway appears in the form of Michael Adams (Shamier Anderson) coinciding with a major hardware failure. The team has a problem; there isn’t enough oxygen to get everyone to Mars alive.

Tell me you can’t see the ending to this film coming a mile away.

Shockingly there are no other actors in the film, down to the point where they don’t even really utilize off-screen voices. Characters regularly talk to mission command and in the beginning do interviews with what I assume is the news, but we the audience never hear the other side of the conversation.

Stowaway is not a film to watch if you want something happy. The Martian is the closest kind of story I can think of to this, but The Martian had its ups and downs. Stowaway is a lot of down with really no up. It’s bleak, it’s dismal, it’s sad, there’s a lot of contemplating death, themes of sacrifice, and a lot of crying, mostly from me. You get the feeling pretty early on that there is no happy ending coming, and the film really plays that up.

There’s no ‘splosions in this movie or high octane action, and nobody shoots an RPG at a Nazi alien spaceship. It’s really slow an monotone and that’s going to annoy and bore the barely literate Neanderthals giving this one star on IMDB. Much like IMDB’s user reviews, there’s no outside intelligent life in this movie.

Now it’s not all great. Only one of the four characters actually gets a backstory, and it solely exists to set us up the ending. The second character all we get is an anecdotal story from their past that’s meant to also tie in to the ending. The third character is the cold scientist “I spent years of my life on this research and I can’t throw it away for this nonsense” before throwing it away for this nonsense. And the fourth gets basically no story at all.

Stowaway is nearly two hours, but those two hours went by rather fast. I wouldn’t go so far as to call Stowaway intelligent, but it did keep me interested for the whole duration of the film. It does get meandering and you do have to look past the fact that things seem to happen for the sake of there being a movie. Also don’t look for interesting characters. It’s less about their personality and more about the functional roles.

I am a fan of dry-ass science fiction, and my favorite Star Trek film is The Motion Picture. Make of that what you will.

Rating: B-

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