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Entry updated 28 April 2021. Tagged: Film.

Film (2021). Netflix presents an Augenschein Filmproduktion, MMC Movies, Phiphen Pictures, RISE PICTURES, RainMaker Films, Stage 6 Films and XYZ Films production in association with Yale Productions and Black Canopy Films. Directed by Joe Penna. Written by Penna with Ryan Morrison. Cast includes Shamier Anderson, Toni Collette, Daniel Dae Kim and Anna Kendrick. 116 minutes. Colour.

A Spacesuit Film in which a Mysterious Stranger endangers a three-person mission to Mars.

"Who the fuck is on my ship?"

The first intimation that something is awry is the consumption of extra fuel on take-off. Flight commander Marina Barnett (Collette) then discovers launch support engineer Michael Adams (Anderson) shut, injured and unconscious, into an overhead compartment of a Spaceship that is a convincingly-rendered array of modules and capsules attached to a Rocket and a solar Power Source; worse, his arrival leads to the "CDRA" being damaged, a device that removes carbon dioxide from the shared air supply. There follows a tense series of attempts either to solve the lack of oxygen by practical means or to decide which of the crew should die that the others can continue their two-year mission.

Shades here of the Arthur C Clarke short story "Thirty Seconds – Thirty Days" (December 1949 Thrilling Wonder Stories; vt "Breaking Strain" in No Place Like Earth, anth 1952, ed John Carnell), adapted into the film Trapped in Space (1994); even more of Tom Godwin's famed and still controversial "The Cold Equations" (August 1954 Astounding), filmed as The Cold Equations (1996); and, too, of the films Marooned (1969) and Gravity (2013). But Stowaway is both notable and interesting for its entirely Hard SF treatment of contemporary spaceship Technology and research. If it strains credulity that an unexpected passenger might find their way aboard an intensely weight-regulated flight to Mars, the procedural aspects of the story are measured out in persuasive and accurate fashion and the performances are solid, at least until the last half-hour of the film, when onboard Scientists Zoe Levenson (Kendrick) and David Kim (Kim) engage in some Hollywood action heroics (see Heroes) to retrieve oxygen canisters in a solar storm. [MD]


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