Europa Report- Movie Review
Directed by Christian Camargo
“Compared to the breadth of knowledge yet to be known, what does your life actually matter?”
Settling in for my first of what I hope to be many reviews I did a little preliminary research into the cast of characters for a movie I was otherwise unfamiliar entirely. I would come to find an interesting grouping of cast from more recognizable actors such as District 9’s Sharlto Copley and Embeth Davidtz (Bicentennial man, Matilda) to slightly more background credits such as Isiah Whitlock Jr. who I recognized from his performance in 1408, a small role but to his credit a memorable one.
The film begins establishing a tense and serious space exploration narrative surrounding the theory of possible life beneath the surface of Europa- one of Jupiter’s moons. The cinematography style is reminiscent of paranormal activity in that most of the footage is regarded as “found footage” leftover from the mission and plays as an aftermath declassification meeting. Musically peppered just enough to keep the tension of the film, underlined with a humorous if not slightly overused nod to The Blue Danube. Early on I found that overall, the use of practical effects over the generally accepted mashup of CGI we’ve come to accept as standard did quite a bit to keep my sense of disbelief suspended, as the characters used their surroundings to great effect, with the exception of a specific tremor scene where I believe the lack of emotion from the cast had the scene fall flat.
The plot jumping from a specific point just before launch, to the landing at Europa confused me a touch at first until I realized at a specific incident that it was meant to establish and underline the concept that where they were, and what they were doing was especially challenging from the start. And the tremendous undertaking of creating a portable environment for multiple people to survive in and transport it across our solar system has risks, and those risks have consequences.
The penultimate few scenes show an intense range of emotion between Michael Nyvquist’s character Andrei and Anamaria Marinca’s Rosa that I was otherwise unsuspecting after the slow tentative buildup of the plot over their journey. Their devolution into survival mode while still managing to keep calm, despite their circumstance is a testament to their skill as actors. I quite felt their sense of impending dread, entrapment and yet also their sense of duty to their comrades and the idea that the progression of knowledge was still paramount in their minds in the final moments.
My final thoughts regarding the film are that it exposes an inherent question regarding our curiosity with space exploration; at what lengths do we stop and consider that the risks outweigh the rewards of questioning our place in the universe?
Overall, I found the film to be worth watching. Not exactly an action film by any stretch of the imagination but not every film requires pyrotechnics to get its message across. If the idea of space exploration and it’s morality weighs heavy on your mind as it does mine from time to time, or even if you just quite enjoy science fiction and wish to look at it from a more practical and even a legitimately possible lens then I recommend you give this movie some attention.