“Lapsis” Offers Sci-Fi Satire About Human Employment & Automation – Movie Review

Lapsis movie review
“Lapsis” Poster (Image: PR)

Lapsis is an indie sci-fi satirical film that will make you think about real-life issues concerning the automation of jobs because companies don’t want to deal with properly paying employees or offering other resources.

I was provided with a free digital screener of Lapsis for review. The opinions I have shared are my own.   

Lapsis is set in a world that’s similar to our timeline. However, from what I could understand, quantum computing is taking over the market. Numerous people work as gig workers called cablers. Their job is to help build quantum networks by trekking over miles of land (mostly forested terrain) while unrolling long cables and attaching them to huge magnetic cubes (like the one shown in the poster). Things begin changing for the cablers due to the introduction of small robots that can do the same job without getting tired or needing HR protections.   

The official synopsis reads:

Queens delivery man Ray Tincelli (Dean Imperial) is skeptical of new technology, and the buy-in to start cabling is steep, but he struggles to support himself and his ailing younger brother, who suffers from a mysterious illness. So when Ray scores a shady permit, he believes their fortunes may have finally changed. What he doesn’t expect is to be pulled into a conspiracy involving hostile cablers, corporate greed, and the mysterious “Lapsis” who may have previously owned his permit.

Written and directed by Noah Hutton, Lapsis describes itself as “a darkly comic and timely look at the gig economy and the failed utopian promises of big tech.” And you know what? I agree.

I’m not into sci-fi films focusing on big corporations and your average Joe, but Lapsis had me intrigued throughout the approximate 104-minute running time. My excitement kind of dwindled near the end, but overall, Lapsis offered an interesting commentary (especially with everything getting automated around us and how human workers are treated… *cough* Amazon *cough).

One of the things I enjoyed about Lapsis involved Hutton’s willingness to showcase the absurdity of his satirical piece. The comedic moments and craziness gel well with the serious undertone featured in Lapsis.

Ray is our introduction to this new (yet familiar) world. Even Ray’s confused about what’s happening, helping the audience and Ray be in the same boat. What’s the endgame for the company, named CBLR, that Ray’s working for? I don’t know. But it’s clear CBLR isn’t above exploiting desperate people looking to make some quick cash. It also doesn’t care about robots doing the same job, as long as the cables get connected.

I liked how the human vs robot narrative was handled. Of course, certain cablers come up with cunning ways to stop the robots. There’s also a group of cablers getting ready to unionize and demand better working conditions. Take note; transgender actress Ivory Aquino plays Jo, the leader of the unionization group. 

The mystery element is introduced through the medallion that Ray gets to start working as a cabler. As the movie progresses, it becomes apparent that something is up with Ray’s medallion. I don’t want to spoil what happens. So, I’ll just say it belonged to someone that other cablers are familiar with.

I didn’t enjoy the mystery featured in Lapsis as much as I wanted to. I was more curious about how being a cabler worked in Ray’s world. There are a number of interesting moments in the movie including how cablers aren’t allowed to rest until they have earned it, how they can’t get off the route, the continuous dread of a robot being on the same trail, and much more. I wanted to learn as much as I could about Ray’s profession. The unraveling of the company-related conspiracy? Not so much.

The acting is good across the board and Hutton knows how to amp up the tension whenever a robot shows up. I highly recommend watching Lapsis because this could very well be our reality in the near future due to economic-anxiety and how companies operate.

As of writing this review, Lapsis has a 94% critic rating on Rotten Tomatoes. And I agree! It’s that good (even though certain elements could have been explored better). 

Lapsis was made available on streaming on-demand and virtual cinemas on February 12, 2021. Make sure to visit the movie’s official website for some immersive content.

Feel free to share your thoughts with us.  

Author: Farid-ul-Haq

Farid has a Double Masters 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. He gives us insight into comics, books, TV shows, anime/manga, video games, and movies.

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