We are in the not-too-distant future and the fallout from the gig economy is front and centre in the sci fi mystery thriller Lapsis.
Ray Tincelli (Dean Imperial) is a delivery driver who has just turned down a promotion because his number one priority is looking after his younger half-brother Jamie (Babe Howard).
Jamie is suffering from something called Omnia, a chronic fatigue disorder.
With faster download speeds, Quantum computing is all the rage.
With that in mind, many citizens are taking advantage of the opportunity of laying new internet cabling and that has opened up to all comers and not simply technical specialists.
There is decent money to be made from it too.
Ray recognises that his brother needs professional help and that a private institution offers him the best chance of getting the care he requires.
The problem is that that carries with it a high price tag.
So, against Jamie’s advice, Ray hooks up with a contact of Jamie’s – a guy named Felix (James McDaniel) – who offers to set him up with the permit needed to become a cabler, in return for a 30 per cent cut of his takings.
Although wary, Ray feels he has no choice and takes up Felix’s decidedly dodgy offer.
While there are a number of different cabling companies, they are all apparently owned by the same entity.
Each cabler is allowed to select a trail name, that is a moniker they use when in the bush laying cable.
All except Ray that is, who is assigned a name of a notorious cabler and with that is given priority treatment even though he is a beginner, much to the chagrin of his fellow cablers.
It soon becomes clear that the system is weighted against the cablers to the benefit of the mega corporation that employs them.
They find themselves competing against automated, self-propelled small computers on legs, which are capable of laying cable 24/7.
Ray befriends a cabler called Anna (Madeline Wise) who has a far better idea of what is going on and rails against it.
Conspiracies abound in more than one jurisdiction as the private hospital also appears to be exploiting Ray’s brother’s illness.
The concept of the rich using the poor and Big Brother oversight may not be new, but is still provides the foundation for compelling cinema.
So, it is not surprising that I liked the concept, even though belief was a bit of a stretch.
Put another way, some elements I could swallow more readily than others.
Writer and director Noah Hutton clearly has a fertile imagination.
There are twists aplenty and the longer the film goes the more you come to realise how far the “haves” will go to achieve their goals.
I appreciated Imperial’s inquisitive and suspicious lead performance around whom the story unfolds.
I thought the film eventually became a little too convoluted for its own good. The adage less is more would have aided the cause.
Having said that it is a solid, independent take on power and control, quite appropriate in the COVID-19 world in which we find ourselves.
Rated PG, Lapsis scores a 6½ to 7 out of 10.