Netflix’s latest addition to the ever-expanding “people having a terrible time in space” genre is Stowaway, the title of which pretty much sums it up. A small crew is on a two-year mission to Mars—one that’s derailed by the discovery of a stowaway on a ship meant to carry only three people. A fourth human in the ship’s cramped quarters means stretched resources, and a whole lot of stress, and probably someone has to die because it’s spaaaaaace.
Stowaway will probably call to mind a lot of other extremely tense space movies, but the real appeal here is the cast: Toni Collette (Hereditary) as the mission captain; Anna Kendrick (Pitch Perfect) as the doctor (and self-appointed in-flight entertainment, as her colleague cracks); Shamier Anderson (Wynonna Earp) as the stowaway; and Daniel Dae Kim (Lost, Hellboy) as the biologist who has created plants that are capable of growing on Mars.
Writer-director Joe Penna and his co-writer and editor Ryan Morrison also made the Mads Mikkelsen-starring Arctic, about a man whose plan crash lands in the Arctic; they’ve clearly got a thing for intense survival situations. Stowaway‘s plot is reminiscent of the classic SF tale “The Cold Equations,” but this ship’s crew seems much more interested in finding a solution than the one in that story.
The film was shot before the coronavirus pandemic, but seemingly every story about it has noted that it’s a perfect pandemic film, focused on people trapped in isolation, cut off from the rest of the world,
making bread to cope. (Ed: There is no bread in space.) In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Collette said, “It’s ultimately about community, survival, and sacrifice. Who can’t relate to that at the moment?”
Stowaway premieres on Netflix on April 22nd. There is no bread in space.