Where to start with Europa Report. There are some obvious places. First, it’s in the near future but digital video is about as advanced as it was back in 2004. On a cell phone. Or, you know, the filmmakers wanted to cheap out on the special effects. Another place to start might be the music. Report is a “found footage” picture, yet there’s all this dramatically appropriate music from Bear McCreary. It’s possible one of the crew–the film concerns a manned mission to one of Jupiter’s moons–had an iPod, but why couldn’t that iPod have been used to shoot the video? It would have been sharper. I’ll skip the rest and just talk about
The film has two big problems in director Cordero and writer Philip Gelatt. Cordero tries to use the found footage gimmick to hide all of Gelatt’s contrived or derivative plotting points. Cordero also isn’t able to direct his actors through Gelatt’s dumber moments for them. Most of Report hinges on ostensible geniuses acting like morons.
There’s some really good acting in the film, however, which couldn’t have been easy for the cast because they’re stuck acting to the same stationary cameras. Cordero doesn’t do anything interesting with those fixed setups either. Being found footage does nothing to enhance Report, just makes it cheaper.
Christian Camargo and Karolina Wydra give the film’s best performances. Michael Nyqvist is really good. The rest of the cast is fine, sometimes good, sometimes not.
Report doesn’t get passing marks.
Directed by Sebastián Cordero; written by Philip Gelatt; director of photography, Enrique Chediak; edited by Alex Kopit, Craig McKay, Livio Sanchez and Aaron Yanes; music by Bear McCreary; production designer, Eugenio Caballero; produced by Kevin Misher and Ben Browning; released by Magnet Releasing.
Starring Christian Camargo (Dr. Daniel Luxembourg), Embeth Davidtz (Dr. Samantha Unger), Anamaria Marinca (Rosa Dasque), Michael Nyqvist (Andrei Blok), Daniel Wu (William Xu), Karolina Wydra (Dr. Katya Petrovna), Dan Fogler (Dr. Nikita Sokolov), Isiah Whitlock Jr. (Dr. Tarik Pamuk) and Sharlto Copley (James Corrigan).