We highlighted actor and activist Daniel Dae Kim earlier this month. We're now proud to celebrate his new movie "Stowaway" for AAPI Heritage Month. It's a sci-fi thriller that presents critical challenges for a diverse group of space travelers.
Toni Collette, Anna Kendrick, and Daniel Dae Kim play the high-powered crew. They man MTS-42, a two-year mission to Mars. Collette is the commander, Kim is a biologist and Kendrick is a medical researcher.
The film opens with a successful launch, but things quickly turn. There's an accidental stowaway - an engineer (played by Shamier Anderson) knocked unconscious behind one of the panels.
Anderson's predicament inadvertently destroyed one of the ship's air scrubbers. As a result, there is only oxygen left for two passengers. Kim's algae experiments, meant originally for Mars, allow for one more crew member.
The commander gives the crew 10 days to find out if mission control can think of a solution. The options are bleak. The best possible solution is risky. It involves scaling the ship's tethers to see if there is liquid oxygen in the Mars launch vehicle.
Who can take on that mission is only one dilemma. In the end, the film asks tough questions. Each character's personal experiences play a factor in their behavior. The film's an extremely personal character piece about the importance of life. The fact that it's set in the vast emptiness of space makes it even more fascinating.
The AAPI Connection
Daniel Dae Kim has been one of the most recognizable faces in the effort to stop AAPI hate. It's commendable to find him in a story like "Stowaway," which is ultimately about the value of every life. He and his castmates make believable the situations these astronauts find themselves in. Each of them quickly processes what's going on and they all attempt to be human about it.
As in the real world and this film, it's important to stand up for what's right, and cling to our collective humanity.
Why You Should Watch It
"Stowaway" isn't perfect. It moves slowly in its middle stages. It barrels at the end towards what many will see as an abrupt conclusion. It's messy, just like a real-world situation like this would be. But the cast play each of their moments to perfection.
"Stowaway" will have you asking how you yourself would respond. It's a thriller of ideas, ethics, and morality. Don't be surprised if you're still thinking of the ending days later. The meaning of life in many ways is an idea of our own making. It's how we respond to the things that do happen where real purpose reveals itself.
Did You Know
The film is really an international affair. "Stowaway" stars AAPI icon Daniel Dae Kim, American Anna Kendrick, Australian Toni Collette, and Black actor Shamier Anderson. It's directed and co-written by Brazilian Joe Penna. And the music's by German Volker Bertelmann. The space trip, which presents universal questions, is all the better for these varied perspectives.
Chuck is an editor/writer who's worked for NCM, Fandango, Movies.com, MediaTrip, Hollywood.com and Newsweek. His favorite movie is "Jaws." He's definitely a dog guy.