Joe Penna’s debut feature “Arctic” — a tense survival thriller about a pilot (Mads Mikkelsen) whose plane has crash-landed in a frozen wasteland and the badly injured woman (Maria Thelma Smaradottir) he pulls from a downed rescue helicopter — satisfyingly grappled with themes of altruism and man caught at life’s extremes. The filmmaker’s equally gripping, yet less spartan, sophomore effort “Stowaway” has similar ambitions. Set on a space ship at the start of a two-year mission to Mars, the film stars Toni Collette as the no-nonsense commander, with Anna Kendrick and Daniel Dae Kim as her capable crew. When an unconscious and badly injured member of the ground crew (Shamier Anderson) is found on board after liftoff — and one of the ship’s life-support systems broken beyond repair — the presence of an unaccounted-for fourth passenger, who will need more oxygen than the ship can provide, sets off a sequence of events that will force everyone to summon their best selves, and confront their fears and weaknesses. This isn’t standard Hollywood storytelling: Although the precise circumstances of the stowaway’s presence are left unclear, there’s no grand conspiracy or mystery to be solved, except as it relates to the film’s subtext of self-sacrifice. How will each of the four behave when called upon to make the most agonizing decision? The cast is sterling, and the performances low-key yet moving. It’s a tiny bit like Hitchcock’s “Lifeboat” but set in the submarine-like confines of a space ship, and with the threat of solar storms, not sharks. (The potential solutions to the crew’s problem are creative, at one point involving the cultivation of algae. At times, the ingenuity of the story, which, like “Arctic,” was written by Penna and Ryan Morrison, recalls “The Martian.”) Sure, there are scenes of nail-biting action and bravery, too, particularly in the white-knuckle third act. But deep down, “Stowaway” is a human drama, not one about technology and gadgets. TV-MA. Available on Netflix. Contains coarse language, some bloody images and disturbing thematic material. 116 minutes.

— Michael O'Sullivan

Also streaming

The documentary “Downstream to Kinshasa” follows a group of wounded survivors of a six-day conflict fought between Uganda and Rwanda in 2000 in Congo as they seek $1 billion in compensation from the government in Kinshasa for their suffering. The New York Times calls their persistence against long odds and bureaucratic indifference “Sisyphean,” writing that, “watching the subjects of ‘Downstream to Kinshasa’ — whose tenacity the movie honors but never romanticizes — it’s hard not to wonder: What good is the right to protest if it falls on deaf ears?” Unrated. Available at afisilver.afi.com. In Swahili and Lingala with subtitles. 89 minutes.

The Great Green Wall” is a documentary about the ongoing effort to build a 5,000-mile-long “wall” of trees across the width of Africa, in an effort to counteract severe land degradation and accelerating climate change. Unrated. Available at afisilver.afi.com. In English, French, Bambara, Tigrinya and Hausa with subtitles. 90 minutes.

Barry Pepper stars in “Trigger Point,” an action thriller about a retired elite secret operative named Nicolas — once blamed for the exposure and assassination of his former team members — who is coaxed out of hiding by an old colleague (Colm Feore of “The Umbrella Academy”) to restore his reputation and prevent further bloodshed. The pop culture website cbr.com calls the film “competent, but incomplete,” writing that, “Pepper’s a good actor, but here, he mostly just looks exhausted. He betrays very little as Nicolas, so the movie relies on the other characters to inject some life into the proceedings.” Unrated. Available on demand. 82 minutes.

In the violent crime thriller “Vanquish,” Ruby Rose plays a drug courier trying to make a break from her criminal past, and Morgan Freeman is a former police commissioner who kidnaps her daughter as leverage to make her use her skills for him. “A movie with this slim a pretext for near-incessant action can work if it provides sufficient humor, style, a unique atmosphere, memorable action and/or the kind of star charisma that somehow punches it all across,” says Variety. “But ‘Vanquish’ is lacking on nearly every front, to an almost bewildering degree.” R. Available on Apple TV and other streaming platforms. Contains bloody violence, coarse language, some sexual material and drug use. 96 minutes.