Stowaway

Stowaway ★★½

Stowaway is one of those cases I’m panning the movie but have great respect for the up-and-coming director, the name is Joe Penna (3-stars in my book for his previous film “Arctic,” but I am confident his stock will rise as his voice develops). Three astronauts launch into space for a 2-year Mars experiment, with Anna Kendrick, Daniel Dae Kim, Toni Collette at the helm. The first thing you notice is the “Das Boot”-like roving camera (but slower) as it moves through interlocking capsule to capsule through and around the hull. Beyond this camerawork, though, there isn’t much to be entertained by until about the forty minute mark.

Which of these actors takes the movie and runs away with it? That would be not whom I was expecting, it is the actress who plays the medical researcher. Kendrick with her chipmunk-cute humor has never really busted my funny bone, but I have appreciated her when she is the compassionate voice within a drama (she’s good here). In this case, Kendrick wants to protect black man Shamier Anderson, a launch crew engineer, who accidentally flew up with the ship. You see, there’s only enough oxygen for three crew members and not four. Not helping is the fact that the CDRA device which foments new carbon dioxide was severely damaged during liftoff. Hence, a moral predicament with life-and-death stakes for all. Also, a question in my mind I had for a brief moment but here it goes: Is this stowaway a kind man or is his behavior merely a ruse to save his own hide?

I know I was put on Earth so I could be the kind of movie freak who goes gaga over a very long but riveting sequence where two crew members spacewalk, at one point climbing spindly poles at the end beacon of their ship, in order to look for leftover liquid oxygen canisters. I eat this stuff up like a box of Oreos. There has to be a second spacewalk, and this one has a different groovy factor because of all the passing flares from a recent solar storm (radiation danger!). So we finish the end of Act III – and I cannot believe I am complaining about this – but what we needed was to have an adequate epilogue of some kind.

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