Saturday 9 March 2024

Movie Review: Stowaway (2021)

Genre: Science Fiction Survival Drama  
Director: Joe Penna  
Starring: Anna Kendrick, Toni Collette, Daniel Dae Kim, Shamier Anderson  
Running Time: 116 minutes  

Synopsis: A three-person crew consisting of Commander Marina Bennett (Toni Collette), doctor Zoe Levenson (Anna Kendrick), and researcher David Kim (Daniel Dae Kim) lifts off on a mission to Mars. Once they settle in for the long journey, Marina stumbles upon launch support engineer Michael Adams (Shamier Anderson), who accidentally stayed on-board, wounded and unconscious. He is nursed back to health and establishes a connection with Zoe, but the spaceship is now critically damaged and does not have enough oxygen for the unexpected traveler.

What Works Well: The spaceship environment conveys the appropriate sense of messy technology, and the four-person cast is adequate. The limited special effects are functional.

What Does Not Work As Well: Director and co-writer Joe Penna aims for a profound moral dilemma but misses badly. The plot logic gaps are yawning, from the initial never-explained chain of incompetence leading to the stowaway situation, through to the lack of redundancy planning, and culminating in a bizarre and internally inconsistent ending that never comes close to the desired impact. Along the journey, the attempts to humanize some but not all the crew members ring hollow.

Conclusion: Despite an ambitious destination, the drama sputters on the launch pad.

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