Europa Report

Rated PG-13 90 minutes

The talented Ecuadoran director Sebastian Cordero (Cronicas, Rabia) makes his English-language debut with this low-budget sci-fi drama. It takes place onboard a manned mission to one of Jupiter's moons, where scientists have identified signs of life. For the most part this avoids Alien-style horror in favor of realistic suspense rooted in the mission's physical and psychological demands. (I'm not qualified to judge the accuracy of the scientific detail, though the filmmakers convey a genuine respect for hard science instead of the cursory interest shown by most science fiction movies.) It's nothing remarkable, but Cordero shows a knack for shooting in tight spaces and extremely good taste in actors: the distinguished cast includes Anamaria Marinca (4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days), Embeth Davidtz (Schindler's List), Sharlto Copley (District 9, Elysium), and Christian Camargo (The Hurt Locker).

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