Lapsis (2020)

Director: Noah Hutton
Writer: Noah Hutton
Cast: Dean Imperial, Madeline Wise, Babe Howard, Ivory Aquino, Dora Madison, James McDaniel, Frank Wood, Arliss Howard
Part of: SLASH Filmfestival
Seen on: 24.9.2021

Ray (Dean Imperial) tries to take care of his brother Jamie (Babe Howard) who suffers from a mysterious illness. Treatments for this illness are expensive and experimental, but Ray is determined to get his brother help. Even if that means having to go cabling – that is, laying miles and miles of cables through the forest on foot, a requirement for the new quantum technology that is taking over the world. Ray is suspicious of the technology and he needs to take an illegal short-cut to start working soon, but in his desperation, he will do anything.

Lapsis is a unique and very entertaining film. I really enjoyed it and its off the beaten path thinking and style.

The film poster showing a big golden cube with various cables potruding from it.

The first thing that struck me about Lapsis was the idiosyncratic mix of technologies it features. There’s this very advanced quantum technology, while Ray’s cell phone is about 15-20 years old and the instructional video about cabling is actually on VHS. It gives the film a comedic touch, and a certain timeless quality.

That includes the fact that the quantum technology relies on cables (don’t ask me what those cables are actually for or why they need to be re-layed apparently all the time) and while there are drones and robots servicing it, it’s not possible without the manual labor of a precarious workforce. The way the work is structured in the film is a scalding indictment of the gig economy as we live it today already.

Ray (Dean Imperial) attaching a cable to a cube.

That the film centers Ray was also a bonus. Not only because Imperial gives a great performance, but because (almost fat) Ray is a character like we rarely get to see them as protagonists. Unreservedly working class, with no informal education or intellectual ambitions (often working class protagonists in films are intellectuals, just without a formal education), and no criminal either (though not averse to skirting around the edges of legality), he was the perfect everybody to explore this work setting, and also gives us an emotional in into the story.

There is one plot reveal towards the end that I didn’t love (it feeds into the one-man-genius narrative and makes the revolution dependent on said genius instead of, for example, a community effort), but other than that, it’s a political call for revolution and an entertaining film. Both things that I really enjoyed.

Ray (Dean Imperial) in hiking gear, pulling a cable through the forest.

Summarizing: awesome.

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