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Watch the trailer for new space-based thriller I.S.S.

I.S.S. | Official Trailer | Bleecker Street

The trailer for the feature film I.S.S. has just dropped, and it’s surely no coincidence that it lands in the same week that the International Space Station marks 25 years of operations.

While NASA and its Russian counterpart Roscosmos will likely be highlighting over the coming days what can be achieved when you put politics aside and focus instead on international cooperation, the I.S.S. flick imagines a very different scenario where events on the ground cause productive collaboration inside the small orbital facility to collapse.

Directed by Gabriela Cowperthwaite (Blackfish) using an acclaimed Black List script by debut screenwriter Nick Shafir and starring the Academy Award-winning actress Ariana DeBose (West Side Story), the 95-minute thriller takes off when the U.S. and Russia start lobbing nukes at each other back on terra firma while the three astronauts and three cosmonauts on ISS watch the unfolding drama from the safety of space.

But things take a turn when the astronauts — and cosmonauts — receive orders from their respective governments to take control of the station by any means necessary, hence the movie’s tagline, “The war on Earth will be decided in space.”

Twists and turns are aplenty, with matters inside the habitable satellite complicated by a romantic relationship that’s formed between crewmembers on opposing sides.

A screenshot from the I.S.S. movie.
Bleecker Street

Variety rates the performances as “uniformly exceptional” but overall gives I.S.S. a lukewarm review. The Hollywood Reporter, on the other hand, praises director Cowperthwaite for “an excellent job ratcheting up the suspense for the necessarily claustrophobic thriller that benefits greatly from its novel setting,” adding: “The relatively low-budgeted I.S.S. lacks the high-octane excitement of such similar space-set thrillers as Gravity, and it’s hard not to wish at times that it was a more lavish production. But the film works just fine as the sort of high-concept B-movie that used to be a mainstay of double features, even if it wouldn’t necessarily be an ideal recruiting tool for NASA.”

You’ll be able to judge for yourself when I.S.S. hits movie theaters on January 19.

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