For a film set solely in one location with a talented cast and exciting writer/director at the helm, Stowaway should’ve been a gripping survival tale.
Instead it’s a decent Friday night flick not likely to be remembered.
Director Joe Penna hit the ground running with his thrilling and nuanced feature debut Arctic in 2018 and has followed it up with yet another survival thriller, this time set in space.
The film is well directed and performed, with production and sound design immersing the viewer into the crew’s claustrophobic ship.
The cast includes Anna Kendrick (Pitch Perfect, Up in the Air, The Accountant), Daniel Dae Kim (Lost), Shamier Anderson (Across the Line) and Toni Collette (Hereditary), who all do solid work with what they are given.
Kendrick plays Zoe Levenson, an astronaut on her way to Mars, faced with a difficult decision once her team find a stowaway on their ship.
The script attempts to give each character some sort of moral compass and back story, and the actors nobly grasp on to whatever they can despite the lack of significant development.
The plot positions the characters in a moral dilemma: Do they throw this stowaway overboard or do they all suffer and die together?
Although the stakes are high for the characters, the film fails to capitalise on this tense situation.
The ending is lacklustre and feels as though the writers had written themselves into a corner. It could only really have one of a few endings, and they chose the safest one.
If the film had been given a cinema release as opposed to solely a Netflix release, there would have been an overall warmer reception, given the size and scope of this picture.
The immersive nature of the film and Penna’s direction is one of Stowaway’s strengths, and if it was instead viewed on the big screen, the experience would have been much more entertaining.
For Friday night viewing, when you don’t want to scroll through Netflix for hours, the film provides a good distraction that will keep you entertained for the runtime. Just don’t expect to remember it once the credits begin to roll.