Stowaway ★★★½

Netflix now seem to have settled into quite a consistent run of 3 to 3.5 stars films as their Originals.

Which is fine with me, as these kinds of films don't really get much of a look-in at the cinema anymore. Someone's got to make them and release them, so why not Netflix? Stowaway is the sort of thing that's ideal for just sticking on in the evening and unlikely to prove too taxing on the brain, yet maybe not the sort of thing you wouldn't necessarily make the effort to go to the cinema to see. Well, I would, but that's just me.

I was quite excited by this one though. Anna Kendrick in a sci-fi film? I'm there. Plus, Joe Penna's Arctic was impressive enough to have me awaiting his next move. Last 20 minutes aside, Stowaway was worthy of the excitement.

I'm not sure how Penna lets the latter stages get away from him so badly. Much of the plot surrounds the fact that Shamier Anderson is the odd man out - so why did Penna fold in on this idea in its latter stages? It really made no sense and I was quite infuriated that he could have effected such a poor ending where he appeared to have forgotten what had gone before. The obvious answer would have been for someone to die accidentally.

So yeah, I do wonder what happened there. There is class and quality in the rest of Stowaway, most obviously in the quartet of performances in which Daniel Dae Kim especially stands out. Neat ideas such as not being able to hear mission control messages, to try and increase our sense of isolation alongside the crew, was a real neat touch that added a lot of atmosphere.

The growth of tension is slightly hindered by one or two obvious events and a slight lack of hostility between the crew. Penna might be trying to say more than he needs to here, about co-operation and sacrifice, but he perhaps holds back a bit too much. Even so, it's determinedly solid and, during what has been a choppy time for science fiction in the last decade or so, it's a welcome positive addition to the genre.