Space has always been a huge, grand and mysterious screen on which directors could paint and project their metaphorical journeys. Much like the desert to the west, the journey through space is a deeply intimate and human journey, often an exploration of the soul and the human condition when it is at its best. The Netflix Theatre “Stowaway“Addresses some of these ideas and moral issues when a group of astronauts travels from Earth to Mars on a two-year journey. Your goal? Find life and find yourself.
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director Joe Penna envisions a near future in which people beyond earth have searched for peace, life and answers. The leader, Marina Barrett (Toni Collette), a calm, collected astronaut with a family back home, is charged with getting the ship from point A to point B in a smooth and predictable manner. Her two colleagues are Ivy League graduates and award-winning candidates who have undergone basic training to continue their research on Mars, Doctor Zoe Levenson (Anna Kendrick) and biologist David Kim (Daniel Dae Kim). But her training couldn’t have prepared her for what would happen next.
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As the trip worsens, Kim loses his lunch while Zoe’s neck rattles against the cold metal walls. A few barf bags later, the ship docks at a kind of solar-powered module, a floating set piece that spins in circles for no other reason than to look cool. Marina senses something is wrong with the module, but ground control makes sure everything is going as planned … until she notices blood dripping from the ceiling. Somehow, inexplicably, there’s a man in there. It is not immediately clear how he (Shamier Anderson) stuck in the ceiling, but there are bigger things to worry about. The captured man has damaged the life support system and there is only enough oxygen on board for three people, which means it’s time to play a game of Lifeboat: The Space Edition.
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All smooth jokes aside, despite the somewhat absurd premise, the film acts as a fascinating allegory and uses the predicament and the people on board who have been chosen for their decision-making to investigate moral crises among people. Even in space, they have to make difficult decisions. You were sent to Mars to escape a world of tough choices, but Penna argues that there is no escape to escape the dilemmas that haunt us every day.
Small and relatable moments are thrown in to keep these dilemmas interesting: ironic jokes, snoring, boredom, backstory, a conversation about John Coltrane. The ship also keeps us busy thanks to Marco RosserProduction design and Klemens BeckerZero gravity cinematography. Hallways turn in circles; Rooms come and go as the camera glides over the ship like an astronaut in orbit. Mars is the last station of the module, sunset at the end of the desert and the only place with oxygen.
With a story so extensive and expansive and breathtakingly tense, “Stowaway” is surprisingly realistic. You actually feel like you are in space and run out of oxygen when the clock is ticking faster. When the initial imagination, a man mysteriously trapped in a spaceship, feels weak, the craft of tension and the actor quickly skips this problem of lifting disbelief. As fascinating as “Stowaway” is, the film is not without its problems. The third act in particular is derailed and bogged down by repetitions. Kendrick is forced to climb onto the ship for 30 minutes and she’s not busy enough.
Ultimately, however, “Stowaway” is surprisingly decent despite the opposition to the final. It is the story of mankind’s attempt to escape the needs of reality. It’s a journey that turns out to be impossible, however there are Shimmer of light in the dark. Can our astronauts find a way to cling to this light? Despite the risks and problems of the trip, people can sometimes surprise us with optimism, resilience, bravery and sacrifice. [B]