“Lapsis” science fiction satire on humanity and automation
Lapse is an indie sci-fi satirical film that will make you think about real issues around the automation of jobs because companies don’t want to pay their employees well or offer other resources.
I was provided with a free digital screener of Lapse for evaluation. The opinions I have shared are my own.
Lapse takes place in a world similar to our timeline. However, from what I could understand, quantum computing is taking over the market. Many people work as concert workers called cable fitters. Their job is to help build quantum networks by traversing miles of land (mostly woodlands) while unrolling long cables and tying them to huge magnetic cubes (like the one shown in the poster). Things are starting to change for wirers due to the introduction of small robots that can do the same job without tiring themselves or needing HR protections.
The official synopsis reads as follows:
Queens delivery guy Ray Tincelli (Dean Imperial) is skeptical of new tech, and the buy-in to start the wiring is high, but he’s struggling to support himself and his sick younger brother , who suffers from a mysterious illness. So when Ray gets a shady license, he thinks their fortunes may have finally changed. What he doesn’t expect is to be drawn into a conspiracy involving hostile cable companies, corporate greed and the mysterious “Lapsis” who may have already owned his license.
Written and directed by Noah Hutton, Lapse describes himself as “a dark and comedic look at the concert economy and the failed utopian promises of high technology.” And you know what? I agree.
I’m not into big business sci-fi movies and your average Joe, but Lapse intrigued me throughout the duration of about 104 minutes. My excitement kinda subsided towards the end, but overall, Lapse offered an interesting comment (especially with everything automating around us and the way human workers are treated… * cough * Amazon * cough).
One of the things that I enjoyed Lapse involved Hutton’s willingness to show the absurdity of his satirical play. The comedic moments and the madness pair well with the serious undertone featured in Lapse.
Ray is our introduction to this new (but familiar) world. Even Ray is confused about what is going on, helping the audience and Ray to be in the same boat. What is the final phase of the company, named CBLR, for which Ray works? I do not know. But it’s clear that CBLR doesn’t shy away from exploiting desperate people who are looking to make a quick buck. It also doesn’t care that the robots do the same job, as long as the cables are connected.
I liked the way the human vs robot story was handled. Of course, some cable fitters find nifty ways to stop robots. There is also a group of cable workers who are preparing to unionize and demand better working conditions. Take note; transgender actress Ivory Aquino plays Jo, the leader of the organizing group.
The mystery element is introduced through the locket that Ray gets to start working as a wireman. As the movie progresses, it becomes apparent that something is wrong with Ray’s locket. I don’t want to spoil what’s going on. So I’ll just say it belonged to someone the other cable guys know well.
I did not appreciate the mystery presented in Lapse as much as I wanted. I was more curious as to how being a cabler worked in Ray’s world. There are a number of interesting moments in the movie including how the cable guys aren’t allowed to rest until they’ve earned it, how they can’t get out of the way, the fear continues to go on. ‘a robot on the same trail, and much more. I wanted to learn as much as possible about Ray’s trade. The outcome of the corporate conspiracy? Not really.
Acting is good across the board and Hutton knows how to turn the tension up whenever a robot shows up. I highly recommend to watch Lapse because it could very well be our reality in the near future due to economic anxiety and business operations.
At the time of writing this review, Lapse has a critical score of 94% on Rotten tomatoes. And I agree! So much the better (even if some elements could have been better explored).
Lapse was made available for streaming on demand and in virtual theaters on February 12, 2021. Make sure to visit the official website of the film for immersive content.
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Farid has a double master’s degree in psychology and biotechnology as well as an M.Phil in molecular genetics. He is the author of numerous books including Missing in Somerville and The Game Master of Somerville. It gives us insight into comics, books, TV shows, anime / manga, video games, and movies.
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