|EUROPA REPORT (director: Sebastián Cordero; screenwriter: Philip Gelatt; cinematographer: Enrique Chediak; editors: Aaron Yanes/Alexander Kopit/Craig McKay/Livio Sanchez; music: Bear McCreary; cast: Christian Camargo (Dr. Daniel Luxembourg), Embeth Davidtz (Dr. Samantha Unger), Anamaria Marinca (Rosa Dasque), Michael Nyqvist (Andrei Blok), Daniel Wu (William Xu), Karolina Wydra (Dr. Katya Petrovna), Sharlto Copley (James Corrigan), Dan Fogler (Dr. Sokolov), Isiah Whitlock Jr. (Dr. Tarik Pamuk), Neil deGrasse Tyson (Himself); Runtime: 90; MPAA Rating: PG-13; producer: Ben Browning; Magnet Releasing; 2013)|
but subdued sci-fi thriller about astronauts
on a fouled-up mission to find out if there's
life on Jupiter."
by Dennis Schwartz
Ecuador born director Sebastián Cordero ("Chronicles"/"Rage") helms another one of those found footage mystery films, in the same mode as The Blair Witch Project but thankfully without a shaky camera. This one is an exciting but subdued sci-fi thriller about astronauts on a fouled-up mission to find out if there's life on Jupiter. The low-budget pic, shot in black and white, has a fine international cast and a sterling screenplay by Philip Gelatt. Its credible premise was inspired by the 2011 discovery of lakes beneath Europa’s frozen surface.
It opens as we're
informed the Europa mission, sponsored by private
corporations, while on its maiden voyage lost
contact 19 months after its launch. In flashback
we observe through discovered footage, recorded by
the crew, some evidence of what might have
happened on the mission. Thereby practically all
of the film is shot on the claustrophobic interior
of the spacecraft. We soon learn that when the
spacecraft lands on Jupiter’s
moon of Europa, the crew spots something outside the
ship, and that danger sign clues us in that there will
Warning: spoiler in next paragraph.
story revolves around the crew disappearing one by one
as they explore the troubling unknown atmosphere of
Europa and that coincides with a bunch of technical
malfunctions. The suspense is eerie and gets raised
until we at last learn that a monster is the cause of
all the havoc.
sparkling international cast include the following:
American actor Christian
Camargo (The Hurt Locker), Polish
Wydra (Crazy, Stupid Love), Chinese-American
action star Daniel Wu (Jump), Swedish actor Michael
Nyqvist (Swedish version of The Girl with the
Dragon Tattoo), Romanian actress Anamaria
Marinca (4 Months, 3 Weeks, 2 Days), and
District 9's South African actor Sharlto Copley.
Since it was produced in collaboration with NASA, you can bet on the facts being right. Even though not action-packed or framed like the blockbuster sci-fi thrillers, I found it more entertaining for adults and probably a more fulfilling space film for sci-fi buffs.
REVIEWED ON 11/28/2013 GRADE: B+
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
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