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Europa Report

(2013)
I knew nothing about this film not even who was in it. This was a blind stab in the dark, which is rare for me with movies. Europa Report concerns itself with a near-future manned mission to Jupiters fourth largest moon, and is presented in documentary fashion. We talk to several members of the company which privately funded the mission back home, but the majority of the time is spent with the crew of the space ship as it travels to Europa and what it discovers. The crew is international, and the cast is largely unknown, though youd likely recognize Sharlto Copley as a crew member desperately missing his family, and sharp-eyed viewers might notice Michael Nyqvist as an engineer who is slowly deteriorating through the course of the mission. Europas emphasis on the science proves interesting, and while theres a good deal of character development, the movie grounds itself as far as possible in reality. The performances are compelling across the board, and as the situation proves increasingly dire, people respond in ways you dont always expect. The film grows tighter and more tense as we proceed, and while we can guess at the end before we get there, nonetheless its an entertaining and thought-provoking ride, well done all around. Europas a low-budget film thats smartly made and very enjoyable; the only drawback for most viewers, I would expect, is that it covers a lot of the same themes that Gravity covers, and while Europa is good, it cant compare to Gravity. Those who havent seen Gravity will enjoy this film a good deal more, I think, than those who have. Naturally thats no slight toward Europa, its just unfortunate timing. If you have to pick one peril-in-space movie, pick Gravity; but if you want to see more, or having the emphasis on science in your science-fiction is your thing, give this movie a spin. November 11, 2013