When Couple 3 Films’ independent movie Lapsis made its way across the indie movie festival circuit last year, it earned a number of honors at those events. It brought home the Jury’s Choice Award at the Bucheon International Fantastic Film Festival in South Korea. It was nominated for the Grand Jury Award at last year’s SXSW Festival. It was even named an official selection of the Cleveland International Film Festival in Cleveland, OH and the Nantucket Film Festival in Nantucket, MA. It was even nominated for the Best First Screenplay Award at the Indie Spirit Awards. For all of the accolades that the movie received, the reality is that it is in fact not a movie that will connect with every viewer. That is due largely to the fashion in which the movie’s creative heads presented the movie’s apparent commentary-laden story. This will be discussed later. Luckily for audiences, the bonus content that accompanies the movie in its recent DVD release (it was released May 11 through independent distributor Film Movement), serves to clear things up at least slightly. This will be discussed shortly. The cinematography featured in the movie rounds out its most important elements. It works with the bonus content to make the movie at least slightly more engaging. Keeping all of this in mind, Lapsis proves worth watching at least once, but sadly no more than that.
Couple 3 Films’ statement flick Lapsis is an intriguing but problematic presentation from the independent movie studio. Apparently, the movie is meant to be a commentary on the division between the haves and have nots in the business realm. More simply put, it is apparently meant to be a commentary about the division between the suits who make millions annually on the backs of workers who make far less, and those workers in question. The thing is that this would not even be fully clear if not for the bonus content that accompanies the movie in its recent DVD release. The movie’s creative heads make a passing comment early on in the feature-length audio commentary about that division being at the heart of the movie while the “Making of” featurette also makes mention of the role of the machines in the movie and in today’s largely automated business world. Other than those passing statements, little other commentary is really offered as to this matter. Audiences are otherwise forced to watch through the plodding, nearly two-hour movie to get any sense of that statement. Go figure, those two very brief mentions are just enough to make the movie worth watching even once.
Those viewers who do watch the movie will find that understand why the noted commentary is so difficult to grasp without the noted brief statements in the bonus commentary. The whole thing starts off with Ray (Dean Imperial) trying to find a way to pay for care for his little brother, Jamie (Babe Howard – yes that is really his name). This leads him to agree to take on a job as a “cabler,” laying cable for the growing information technology industry. As Ray makes his way through his routes, going from cube to cube, he realizes more and more that something is not right. The “medallion” (which is basically an online identity) that he uses to get paid (or so he thinks) is that of someone that the other cable layers apparently did not and do not like. Yet, the other cable layers will not initially tell Ray what is going on. A sense of tension is built throughout the story, leading viewers to expect things to reach a real head, but sadly that never really happens. There is a climax of sorts when Ray, Jamie and the other cable layers manage to disable all of the robots that lay cable, though one robot does get away. That is perhaps meant as a statement that even though the “little guy” might think he has won, the battle will never end because big business will always be there, looming. The story ends very abruptly, leaving viewers ultimately feeling unfulfilled. As another critic noted, it is as if the writers ran out of ideas (and money) and just decided to let the story be how it was. Ultimately, the story comes up short because of the overall manner in which it was delivered. It is as if the writers could not decide if they wanted the story to be a drama, a thriller, or a little of both. To that end, the story only gains any real interest after audiences have taken in the noted, brief commentary in the movie’s bonus content. Keeping all of this in mind, the movie proves only slightly more worth watching at the most.
While the bonus content helps at least slightly to make Lapsis worth watching, that encouragement is minimal at best. The movie’s cinematography adds slightly more motivation to watch. Considering that the bulk of the movie takes place in forested settings, the cinematography had to be taken especially into account because of the color balances, and that of light and dark. Additionally, there had to be emphasis on specific angles within given scenes to help heighten the emotions of all involved. The distortion of the backgrounds (which honestly is slightly overused) does help to heighten the tension as Ray makes his way through his routes and tries to figure out what is going on. The use of the panavision lenses (as noted in the audio commentary) definitely helps with this aspect overall. Simply put, the work of those behind the lenses is to be applauded because it helps to set the mood in each scene. When this is considered along with the slight positive of the movie’s bonus content, the two elements combine to make Lapsis worth watching at least once, but sadly no more than that.
Couple 3 Films’ statement movie Lapsis is a problematic presentation from the independent studio. Its bonus content serves as its main positive. Without the bonus content, viewers would be left guessing as to the story’s plot and message. Speaking of that, the story itself is, again, ambiguous because of the manner in which the story is presented. Audiences are led to believe the story one kind of tale, but ultimately find out it is something else. Making things even more difficult is the story’s abrupt ending. Overall, the whole thing comes across as some kind of odd sci-fi noir flick that attempts to deliver a message but ultimately fails in that effort. Luckily, the movie’s cinematography works with the bonus content to give viewers at least a little more reason to give the movie a chance. That is thanks to the color balances, the angles and other aspects. All things considered here, Lapsis proves to be one of the lesser of this year’s crop of new independent movies. Lapsis is available now.
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