‘Europa Report’ takes flight to outer space from Brooklyn

ENT_EuropaReport_0801
Christian Camargo plays one of the doomed astronauts in “Europa Report.”
Credit: Magnolia Pictures

‘Europa Report’
Director: Sebastian Cordero
Stars: Sharlto Copley, Michael Nyqvist
Rating: PG-13
3 (out of 5) Globes

Films about outer space have eternally avoided accuracy, in large part because a purely realistic portrayal of space travel would be, for lack of a better word, boring. The low budget “Europa Report” features a mission to Jupiter, escalating insanity, a repair job gone tragically awry, even a potentially belligerent alien beast. But even with these fantastical elements it stays resolutely fact-based and convincing, even if it’s been crafted in such a way that the tedium of a lengthy deployment isn’t tedious to watch.

Indeed, the only images we see are of the fake found footage variety. The mission, to investigate potential life on the titular moon, resulted, we’re told, in the deaths of the worldly crew, including Sharlto Copley, “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo”’s Michael Nykvist and “4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days”’s Anamaria Marinca. (A strangely credible Dan Fogler plays one of the scientists back on Earth.) They’re glimpsed entirely through on-board cameras transmitted back to base, including one that allows for “Real World”-esque confessionals. The film was shot not on some major studio lot, but in Brooklyn.

That “Europa Report” isn’t boring is a small tragedy, actually, as a film about the wear of over a dozen months trapped inside a cramped spaceship — even one stocked with an all-star cast of international thespians — would be most welcome. (It would have to be handled by retired Hungarian long-take miserablist Bela Tarr, whose “Satantango” and “The Turin Horse” make time itself evaporate.) “Europa Report” is anxious about losing viewers’ patience, cutting about like mad between cameras, even periodically jumping around on its timeline right when things are settling into a monotonous groove. Its best parts aren’t about its few thrills, but grumblings about wearing the same clothes every day or misplacing one’s toothbrush.

What it is, ultimately, is a resourceful thriller, one that doesn’t sacrifice brains for excitement. The cast does a fine job remaining anonymous and unknowable — over-the-top personalities would ruin the verisimilitude — although some (like Marinca) seem downright zombielike until their own lives are put in danger. Ecuadorian director Sebastian Cordero (“Cronicas”) impressively stays calm, but knows when to bust loose. A shocking midfilm death is a blood curdling first-person depiction of drifting freely into the oblivion of space, while the ending finally provides the sense of awe that has been intentionally dampered by the allegiance to strict (or strict-ish) verisimilitude.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Mutant worms stay sober, even on alcohol

U.S. researchers have developed "mutant worms" that do not get drunk by alcohol, a breakthrough that could lead to new treatment for people trying to quit drinking

Local

K-9 nose helps capture $150K in cocaine at…

A furry, four-legged security agent helped authorities stop an illegal cocaine shipment from sneaking past JFK customs.

National

Minnesota man asked to leave Southwest flight after…

A man and his two sons were asked to leave a Southwest Airlines flight after the man sent a tweet complaining about being treated rudely by a gate agent.

National

Man sues hospital after surprise penis amputation

An Alabama man who went in to a hospital last month for a circumcision awoke after surgery to find his penis had been amputated, his lawyer said on Thursday.

Movies

Review: Brett Ratner's big 'Hercules' movie is small…

The latest "Hercules," starring Dwayne Johnson as the half-god beefcake of Greek myth, strips its hero and tale of most of its fantastical elements.

Arts

Scientists recreate world's smallest Monet copy

Scientists have reproduced a famous Impressionist painting using nano-printing, to create what has been described as the world's smallest work of art. Reworked at the…

Television

Jerry Seinfeld is ambidextrous, and other Reddit AMA…

See some of the weirder highlights of Jerry Seinfeld's recent Reddit AMA.

Going Out

Grab a pedestrian and start dancing at What…

As a New Yorker, I’ve mastered the art of focusing my gaze straight ahead. Though it occasionally piques my interest, the absurdities that play out…

NFL

2014 NFL Fantasy Football Top 100 overall player…

2014 NFL Fantasy Football Top 100 overall player rankings

U.S. Soccer

NYCFC announce signing of Frank Lampard

The tease of a big signing Thursday by new MLS side NYCFC ended up being one rumored for weeks. England midfielder Frank Lampard agreed to…

NBA

NBA great LeBron James sends 800 cupcake apologies…

By Kim PalmerCLEVELAND (Reuters) - NBA star LeBron James, whose recent return to the Cleveland Cavaliers in his home state of Ohio sparked a frenzy…

NFL

Jerry Reese confident with Giants, skipping countdown clocks…

Last year, Giants GM Jerry Reese installed a countdown clock in the locker room to inspire Big Blue to play in their own stadium for Super Bowl XLVIII.

Tech

Forget Wi-Fi: Li-Fi could be the future

Li-Fi technology – developed by Mexican company Sisoft – is wireless internet connectivity using specialized LED light.

Tech

Weather app Climendo might be the most accurate…

The wait for a truly accurate weather forecast could finally be over thanks to a nifty new app called Climendo.

Tech

Napkin Table puts focus off the phone and…

Michael Jan, a design student at Tunghai University in Taiwan, has invented a serviette-picnic blanket hybrid called the Napkin Table.

Style

Essie's new Color Boutique

Essie launches high-tech kiosks at major airports and malls across the country.