The 5th Passenger: A Bottled Sci-Fi Thriller Loaded with Star Trek Veterans
There are universal conditions that most people fear. In the 5th Passenger, many of these conditions are presented in a bottled, yet poignant hour and a half sci-fi thriller. Co-writer, co-producer and star Morgan Lariah embodies the role of Lieutenant Eve Miller, a secretly pregnant crew member. Along with four other crewmates, the group must find a way to survive after their ship is torn to bits and they are stuck in an escape pod with a dwindling air supply.
It sounds simple enough: a problem is presented and a crew have to figure out how to beat the odds, but the truly remarkable part of this feature film are the unique dynamics at play. First, Lariah is flanked by a number of sci-fi veterans who work well the escalating intensity. The veteran cast is comprised of the likes of many Star Trek alumni, including Doug Jones (The Shape of Water, Pan’s Labyrinth, Star Trek: Discovery), Tim Russ (Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek: Voyager), Marina Sirtis (Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek: First Contact, Star Trek: Generations), and Armin Shimerman (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine). Lariah leads the cast with a powerful performance. She seamlessly works well in her character whose story arc bounces between coming from places of fear and desperation to places of infirmity and delusion. It’s important to note that while there are definitely some well constructed and acted scenes, not all of the performances will move or convince you otherwise.
Speaking of places of delusion, the film’s strongest point is in the third act. Without giving away spoilers, it is most gratifying when the storylines begin to line up and the realization is coupled with true uncertainty. In one instance, the movie takes on an even darker tone that dignifies the ingenuity of the script.
Lariah joined in writing the script with director Scott Baker, whose other credits include Rationed and Diary of Anne Frank of the Dead. With a cast so ingrained in Star Trek, you would think the overtone would take on an air of the prime directive. However, that isn’t so much the case as problems are laid out in a fashion that deviate from the standard story arcs of the sci-fi heavyweight. Not only does the crew have an unknown foe to face but their greater struggle is with each other, where complex politics and classification of beings becomes an even more so bigger threat. There’s a truth to the story in its uncertainty of reality which harkens greatly to our own uneasiness of the current times.
In terms of execution, 5th Passenger takes on a style that echoes its genre contemporaries. There are some shots, especially with set pieces in hallways that call back to Stanley Kubrick’s seminal 2001: A Space Odyssey. The quality is fairly clear except for a few out of focus shots that are momentarily distracting. The VFX and design are also on par with industry standards and don’t distract or constrict the storyline. The film doesn’t visit too many locations but visually delivers in each of its executed concepts.
After a limited run in theatres, 5th Passenger has made the move to digital platform. As of July 10, it is available on most places to purchase a movie online, including iTunes, Redbox, Amazon and Google Play. The official synopsis to the film is:
The year: 2151. After the Yellowstone Volcano erupts, throwing the Earth into chaos and class struggle, a pregnant officer, Miller (Morgan Lariah), and her crew struggle to survive in an escape pod with limited resources as they try to reach a new home planet. Running low on air, the team must work together when a vicious alien boards their ship and hunts them down, determined to become the dominant species. But the key to survival may be the secret that is buried deep within Miller’s own mind.
More on the film and where to watch it can be found on its website: http://www.5thpassenger.com
Check out the trailer below: