Manned Mission To Mediocrity
Stowaway is a scientifically sound and intriguing slow burn that just sort of ends; it peters out like a faulty firework. There’s no bang or fanfare, just an indifferent shrug.
That’s a shame because the haunting orchestral soundtrack and some nice ideas could have been enough to make this the next sci-fi hit. Instead, this is likely to end up in the alarmingly large pile of disappointing Netflix Original films.
Set in the near-future, Stowaway depicts the first manned mission to Mars. Three astronauts, all with different fields of expertise, prepare to head off on their two year mission. Bubbly and enthusiast Zoe is the resident Doctor. David is the optimistic biochemist. And Captain Marina Barnett oversees the whole operation.
In this near-future world, NASA seems to be a thing of the past. Instead, the mission is funded and sponsored by a company called Hyperion, who are calling the shots. Only, the group soon come across a problem.
A launch engineer called Michael has somehow ended up onboard and his arrival threatens the very mission they’re on. To their horror, the quartet realize they don’t have enough oxygen to make it to Mars. Someone will need to leave the ship.
This essentially sets the scene for the movie to follow as our characters are faced with an impossible choice. Given the amount of scientific know-how and accuracy with the production design, Stowaway does lend itself to some script issues.
Most notably, the biggest issue here stems from the pacing. For much of the 2 hour run-time, Stowaway plays out as a methodical crawl through space. There are numerous conversations that go nowhere despite hinting at some form of character progression. In fact, beyond Michael’s background and a few tidbits around Zoe, there’s barely any development for the other two astronauts. That’s a shame too because the acting is actually really good all round.
Both Anna Kendrick and Daniel Dae Kim have crackling chemistry on screen and their thin slivers of banter help to drive this forward. It’s just a pity that everything else here feels flatlined and indifferent.
Stowaway is a film that takes a moral dilemma and waters it down in such a way that the outcome and build-up are nothing short of anticlimactic. That’s a real disappointment too, especially given the amount of patience needed to get through this one. Instead, the final shot literally drifts off into space, forgetting to give a good climax to the tale it tells.
While Stowaway isn’t a bad movie per-se, it’s not a particularly exciting or gripping one either. Instead, this is a middling, average-at-best drama with little in the way of thrills.
Looking for more Stowaway content? Check out our Ending Explained article for a more in-depth break-down of this movie! You can find that HERE