Original title:I.S.S.
Director:Gabriela Cowperthwaite
Running time:93 minutes
Release date:Not communicated
When a global conflict breaks out on Earth in the near future, tensions rise aboard the International Space Station. Shocked, the American and Russian astronauts are ordered to take control of the station by any means necessary.

Mulder's Review

In a cinematic landscape where great space epics often take center stage, I.S.S. stands out as a spellbinding, thought-provoking sci-fi thriller that captivates audiences from the very first frame. Directed with finesse by Gabriela Cowperthwaite and written by the talented Nick Shafir, this film defies genre conventions by delving into the twists and turns of trust, betrayal and self-preservation, all set against the backdrop of a confined and precarious environment - the International Space Station (I.S.S.).

The story of I.S.S. revolves around Dr. Kira Foster, played with grace and vulnerability by Ariana DeBose. As the newest member of the space station crew, Kira enters an environment fraught with tension and uncertainty. The other crew members, Americans Gordon (Chris Messina) and Christian (John Gallagher) and Russian astronauts Alexey (Pilou Asbaek), Nicholai (Costa Ronin) and Weronika (Masha Mashkova), immediately establish a palpable chemistry, laying the groundwork for a captivating narrative that oscillates between suspense, intrigue and mounting pressure.

What sets I.S.S. apart is its willingness to untangle the complex web of psychological and emotional repercussions that arise when a world in turmoil reaches the far reaches of space. As poignant messages from a planet in chaos flood the station, boundaries of trust blur, allegiances shift and every interaction becomes a major stake in survival. This constant tension is meticulously maintained throughout the film, a testament to Cowperthwaite's astute skills as a director.

Nick Shafir's screenplay weaves a masterful tapestry of character-driven narratives. Although the film is set in galaxies far away, the interpersonal dynamics it explores are uncannily familiar. As the layers are peeled back, the audience discovers the humanity beneath the spacesuits. Kira Foster assumes the dual role of newcomer and empath, serving as a bridge between the audience and the unfolding drama. The evolution of Chris Messina's Gordon and John Gallagher Jr.'s Christian underscores the delicate balance between camaraderie and self-preservation in the face of uncertainty.

I.S.S. transcends its sci-fi trappings to become a microcosm of global tensions and political complexities. In an increasingly fractured world, the film acts as a metaphor for our interconnectedness and shared vulnerabilities. The choices made by these characters resonate far beyond their personal circumstances, providing a poignant commentary on the fragility of international relations and man's universal struggle for meaning and survival.

The film's production values rival those of much larger projects. Nick Remy Matthews' cinematography oscillates between capturing the breathtaking expanse of space and expressing the stifling confinement of the station. Cowperthwaite's deft direction shines in choreographing the complex dance of trust and distrust between the characters.

Ariana DeBose's portrayal of Kira Foster is quite remarkable, as she deftly balances vulnerability with a steadfast spirit in the face of uncertainty. The chemistry among the entire cast is electrifying, with Chris Messina anchoring the story with a compassionate presence. Pilou Asbaek's Alexey and Costa Ronin's Nicholai add layers of complexity to their roles, enriching the film's emotional fabric.

As I.S.S. builds towards its climax, it ventures into unexpected narrative territory, raising the stakes as allegiances crumble and characters' courage is tested. The film pushes its audience to question their own loyalties and perceptions, a testament to its ability to engage both emotionally and intellectually.

At a time when global upheavals and cataclysmic events seem increasingly plausible, I.S.S. resonates in its exploration of humanity's potential for unity and division. The film's final moments extend long after the credits, leaving viewers to question the depth of their morality and the complex balance of the world in which they live. I.S.S. is more than a science-fiction thriller; it's a cinematic odyssey that encapsulates the essence of our shared human experience against the backdrop of the cosmos.

Directed by Gabriela Cowperthwaite
Written by Nick Shafir
Produced by Mickey Liddell, Pete Shilaimon
Starring Ariana DeBose, Chris Messina, Pilou Asbæk, John Gallagher Jr., Costa Ronin, Maria Mashkova
Cinematography : Nick Remy Matthews
Edited by Colin Patton
Music by Anne Nikitin
Production company : LD Entertainment
Release date June 12, 2023 (Tribeca)
Running time : 93 minutes

Seen September 2 2023 at Deauville international center

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