After launching for a two-year mission to Mars, three astronauts (Anna Kendrick, Daniel Dae Kim, Toni Collette) discover more is not always merrier when they realise there’s a fourth passenger on board (Shamier Anderson) whose unreasonable demands for oxygen threaten the entire crew.
While we watched this film, news broke of the death of Michael Collins, the Apollo 11 astronaut who orbited the moon alone while Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walked on its surface. It’s hard to imagine the feeling of sitting alone in a metal capsule hundreds of thousands of miles from home, with nothing but a thin layer of metal between you and the icy death of space. But Stowaway successfully captures this, following in the footsteps of other recent films which have sought to depict the realities of space exploration.
It focuses closely on the characters, with minimal exterior shots of the ship allowing us to see space from their point of view. And even conversations with earth kept one-sided, letting us jump a few feet in their space boots and really feel the claustrophobia and loneliness. It marvels at the idea of being in space, with characters in awe of what they see as they look out into the black void.
The cinematography effecitvely captures this too, although is somewhat diminshed by having to be viewed on a small screen. The small cast deliver authenticity, and while the characters may not all have the level-headedness we might expect of astronauts, they show just enough restraint to make it plausible. Overall director Joe Penna does a superb job with a small budget, crafting an exciting and intriguing addition to the genre.