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Lapsis Movie Review

Written by Joel Harley

Released by Signature Entertainment

article-cover

Written and directed by Noah Hutton
2020, 108 minutes, Not Yet Rated
Grimmfest Northern Premiere on 29th May 2021

Starring:
Dean Imperial as Ray
Madeline Wise as Anna 
Babe Howard as Jamie
Ivory Aquino as Jo

Review:

The economy has gone to shit, everyone is poor, and healthcare is prohibitively expensive. With no money to be made working the 9-5, the workers hustle for crappy side-gigs and menial (but relatively well paid!) work under big tech firms. But, penalised for taking pee breaks and constantly at threat of losing the job to automatons, this isn’t a sure thing either. Meanwhile, Noah Hutton’s Lapsis is a movie about a guy (Dean Imperial) who manages to secure a cabling job with big corporation CBLR. Quitting his low-paid job as an airport worker, Ray heads out to a remote woodland to lay lengths of cable for The Man.

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Cabling, when it’s at home: plugging long lengths of cable into giant magnetic cubes, out in the middle of nowhere. Technophobe Ray isn’t sure how any of this works, having inherited his GPS system slash tablet (or ‘medallion’, as it’s called here) from the mysterious ‘Lapsis Beeftech.’ And, with it, Lapsis’s company balance and advanced (better paid) workload. This adds an element of mystery to the story, which is otherwise about a guy just wandering around in the woods, trying to lay a cable (not a euphemism for taking a dump or boning, which shouldn’t be done on company time). Pursued by an automated cabler constantly threatening to steal the job out from under him, it’s like a more sedate version of the Black Mirror episode Metalhead.

lapsis 03 lapsis 04

The world of Lapsis is more than just plausible – at times, it’s barely distinguishable from our own. No Blade Runner or Mega City One this, it’s more Office Space than Space Odyssey. The story unfolds at its own pace, letting Ray and the viewer gently acclimatise to his first day on the job. The lack of flashy visuals is friendly on the low budget, and allows Hutton to concentrate on his characters and their world. There is an uprising to be fought against the machines, but don’t expect to see much more than you did in that one scene in Office Space, when they wrecked the printer. Don’t let the robots and the dystopian overlords confuse you, this is a sci-fi film about… unionizing.

As the everyday Joe Ray stumbling onto the key to worker’s rights, Imperial makes an engaging – if somewhat unconventional – lead. By depicting the big guy as a clueless  technophobe, Hutton cannily avoids having to over-explain how any of this really works, while also leaving room for the worldbuilding to unfold in a natural manner. He’s joined by the more clued-in, rebellious Anna (Madeline Wise), who manages to move the story along without getting too bogged down in exposition.

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Parallels to real-world corporations and working conditions are on-the-nose, but it works for the story. The film has plenty to be angry about, but lets itself play out gently, and in good nature. It briefly shows its teeth in a charged dialogue between Ray and Anna - where it confronts his privilige and the myth of pulling oneself out of poverty by the bootstraps - but the fangs quickly go back in.

The lack of momentum may infuriate some, as will the slow pace and lack of closure. The economy has gone to shit, everyone is poor, and healthcare is prohibitively expensive. Why aren’t we more angry about this? Lapsis is charming, laid-back escapism, but its dystopia is a walk in the park, and not a patch on the real thing. Anyway, Lapsis is available on Amazon right now. 

Grades:

Movie: 4 Star Rating Cover
Buy Amazon Uk

About The Author
Joel Harley
Staff Reviewer - UK
Haribo fiend, Nicolas Cage scholar and frequently functioning alcoholic. These are just some of the words which can be used to describe Joel Harley. The rest, he uses to write film criticism for Horror DNA and a variety of websites and magazines. Sometimes he manages to do so without swearing.
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