Morale and oxygen
From the many avenues he could choose for his stranger on board, now on Netflix, director and co-writer Joe Penn will be credited with not trying to be too similar to what came before. He could expand the claustrophobic brackets of the story and brighten the environment with terrible colors, because no one in space hears someone screaming (Alien). Or perhaps trace mirror architecture, the grand design of human existence (2001: A Space Odyssey). To transfer the great theme and conventions of the genre to a platform of beautiful poetry that has nothing to do with the rest, but that's beauty (Solaris). Violent comparisons, downright unacceptable from an art standpoint, but it's not a sin to emphasize that the film has little to do with this way of creating and understanding science fiction. The author's approach, no doubt, but with a moral heart and personality orientation. Perhaps those who saw in the film more than one harmony with the classics of the genre, but more recent, like "Gravity" by Alfonso Cuaron, a humanistic sci-fi manifesto, are probably right. There is something.
The trap of the great theme
Why is it so important to focus on the main idea, the hidden meaning of the film, on the thematic anomaly that isolates it and characterizes it within and as opposed to the genre? Because for better or for worse, that's all. The outsider on board tends to hide a bit behind the big topic, sometimes giving the impression of coming to terms with the frame of the story rather than the movie itself. The moral dilemma that structures the choice of protagonists must autonomously add depth to the characters, accompany the narrative, and resolve any contradictions. He succeeds, but only partially. But what exactly is the moral dilemma?
Every life is sacred, in theory Stranger on board
The future of the film is not far off either. Interplanetary travel, Mars, exploration and colonization; The crew consists of Captain Toni Collett, medical researcher Anna Kendrick, and biologist Daniel Dae Kim (Lost). The ship was originally designed for two travelers, while a third was found through creative work on the environment. Not exactly the best news in the world, in this case the discovery of stowaway Shamir Anderson. Especially when it turns out that the ventilation system is broken, there is oxygen for three, maybe less, and there are four people on board, so what? Does anyone have to die?
It is easy to preach the sanctity of life because theoretically, but only theoretically, we all agree. But when time is running out and air is running out, the risk is to measure the strength of your moral architecture by taking a very narrow path. Which can and does lead to unexplored and very dangerous territories. The stranger aboard weaves his hasty human-themed web at the crossroads, revealing the specter of the worst moral choice in its entirety or nearly. From incitement to suicide to solidarity and hope, who knows if that will be enough for a happy ending. Every life matters, but easier said than done. It's worth a try, right?
The movie gets lost along the way
Nice to meet Daniel Dae Kim on a prominent stage. This hasn't happened since the equally troubling days of the popular time travel series about the insane islands. In the ethical distortions of his biologist, the only existential trajectory truly deepened by the film. The rest of the narrative structure is linear, but slightly unbalanced.
Opened by a sober exhibition that focuses on the realism of bodies and attempts to restore a sense of everyday life from a clearly anomalous situation and environment. The stranger on board then offers a sense of impending threat from a cluster of question marks (stowaway, oxygen, ghost of choice), but undoes his knots too hastily. A glimpse in the third act on the oil of sentimentalism, a highlight of a melodrama that, in hindsight, ultimately mutes the dry tone of the debut.