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Stowaway review: Netflix’s starry sci-fi defies expectations – to a point

Anna Kendrick and Toni Collette are on a two-year mission to Mars gone wrong in this take on the ‘trolley problem’ set in space

Clarisse Loughrey
Friday 23 April 2021 06:33 BST
Stowaway trailer

Dir Joe Penna. Starring: Anna Kendrick, Toni Collette, Daniel Dae Kim, Shamier Anderson. Cert 12, 116 minutes

A pool of blood beneath a spaceship’s air vent is the single, provocative image that kicks off Netflix’s Stowaway. But there are no bloodthirsty, intergalactic beasties stalking these halls or bursting out of people’s chests. Joe Penna’s follow-up to his 2018 survival-driven debut Arctic, starring Mads Mikkelsen, defies expectations of the sci-fi genre – to a point. The blood in question belongs to Michael (Shamier Anderson), an engineer who’s knocked unconscious during the launch and wakes up several hundred miles from planet Earth, far away from the younger sister he’s devoted his life to caring for.

The crew on board – medical researcher Zoe (Anna Kendrick), biologist David (Daniel Dae Kim), and captain Marina (Toni Collette) – are on a two-year mission to Mars, carrying out research that would eventually allow humans to colonise the planet. No one knows quite what happened to Michael, but he makes himself useful anyway, having always harboured dreams of space travel. Their makeshift utopia is short-lived. Marina, to her horror, realises the CDRA – which sucks up carbon dioxide and keeps the air supply in balance – is damaged beyond repair.

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