Watch The Trailer
Storyline (warning: spoilers)
The film’s protagonist is Ray (Imperial), a man in need of a well-paying job to help pay the pricey
medical bills of his fatigued half-brother, Jamie (Howard). Tipped off by a questionable friend,
Ray becomes a contractor for a major global company that is laying high-speed network cables
across the country. It works in a similar manner to Uber.
Ray accepts contracts on his phone and once he’s hiked through forests and laid the cables, the
company transfers money into his bank account. There’s a catch though. Robots are also
performing the work and if they can do it faster, Ray doesn’t get a cent.
It raises an interesting theoretical question that I’ve often posed of friends – if our world
reaches a point where almost every job on the planet is performed by a robot, what becomes
of employment? How can people earn a wage if there is no work for humans to perform? Is
there some kind of government welfare and if so, how is it funded and how is it disseminated?
Would it be subject to corruption and manipulation?
Writer-director Noah Hutton taps into these ideas with Lapsis. It marks his feature-film debut
(his background is in documentaries). Hutton describes it as science-fiction set in the “parallel
present”. It’s similar to the world we know today but with a few small differences to highlight
Lapsis has a lot to say about the gig economy, the diminution of unionisation, and the growing
power of companies over individuals. Hutton drew on his own experiences having worked
himself as an independent contractor for the past decade and having to buy his own equipment
and pay for his own health insurance. What we see in the film may be over-exaggerated for
comedic effect but it gets you thinking about the real world.