Stowaway is a science-fiction thriller film starring Anna Kendrick, Daniel Dae Kim, Shamier Anderson and Toni Collette. Stowaway was released globally on 22nd April 2021 and is exclusively available to stream on Netflix in the UK.
Stowaway follows the crew of a 3-person spaceship headed on a two-year mission to Mars. Shortly after their departure, a stowaway is discovered onboard the vessel and as the ships’ resources begin to dwindle, the lives of everyone onboard are soon at risk. I was expecting Stowaway to be more of a science-based space movie, with the crew of the ship figuring out how to expand their resources to accommodate for the titular stowaway (similar to The Martian I suppose). Instead, Stowaway takes much more of a thriller approach, with all of the crew facing excruciating moral dilemmas.
Anna Kendrick plays Zoe, a medical researcher onboard the ship. It’s refreshing to see Anna Kendrick in a more serious role and for me, her performance in Stowaway is one of her most impressive to date. Her character is undoubtedly the most relatable, as she becomes the voice of reason on the ship and the character which empathises most with the stowaway. I’d have liked the film to delve a little more into her actual role on the ship, we know she is a medical researcher but we don’t see too much of her day-to-day jobs or research.
Shamier Anderson plays Michael the titular stowaway and evokes an emotional performance. The film does beat around the bush a little bit on whether Michael was an accidental stowaway or this was all planned by the character, but it is assumed that this was all accidental. I did kind of hope that this was no accident and the character had orchestrated this as an attempt to go to space, as this would have really provided a twist to the story and added complexity to the moral dilemma already facing the crew.
Toni Collette plays Marina Barnett, the ships commander. Toni Collette is perfect casting for this character and her performance of an experienced and stern commander is highly convincing. Daniel Dae Kim plays David Kim; the ships’ biologist. We get a great insight into his research and work onboard the ship and his role is undoubtedly the most interesting. As oxygen supplies begin to deplete, David must sacrifice his algae on board the ship in an attempt to provide additional oxygen to compensate for the additional crew member. I found this section to be the most interesting, it’s just a shame it isn’t explored in more depth.
Given the film has a run time of just under two hours, I was surprised at how quickly this flew by! What’s even stranger is that at times, the plot can feel slow in progressing, yet the thriller aspect of the film always has you on the edge of your seat. All throughout the film, the audience are unsure on whether the crew will come up with a solution to their life-threatening problem or whether there will be a mutiny aboard the ship! This constant feeling of uncertainty really aids the thrilling nature of the story. I also think the film does a good job at making this feel like a realistic situation and as a result, makes it a thought-provoking watch for the audience.
I was a little disappointed with the ending of the film. With the majority of the film all building up to the crew’s mission to Mars, we don’t actually see whether the crew make it or not. Whilst this isn’t completely necessary, I still would have enjoyed a flash-forward at the end of the film for a little bit of closure.
With an engaging premise and a well-acted story, Stowaway is certainly an enjoyable space-based thriller, it’s just a shame it doesn’t take more of a scientific approach.