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I.S.S. (2024)

Release Date: 01/19/24 [Cinemas]
Genre: SciFi. Thriller.

Studio: Bleecker Street.

Seen at Tribeca Film Festival 2023 

"Tensions flare in the near future aboard the International Space Station as a conflict breaks out on Earth. Reeling, the U.S. and Russian astronauts receive orders from the ground: take control of the station by any means necessary." 


I.S.S. is a smart little thriller from Bleecker Street that uses simple themes and a claustrophobic atmosphere to create nail-biting tension. Director Gabriela Cowperthwaite (whose last directing credit is 2017’s Megan Leavey) does a lot with a little, creating a high-flying whodunnit with life-or-death stakes. Ariana DeBose stars as Dr. Kira Foster, an American astronaut living aboard the International Space Station alongside fellow Americans (Chris Messina, John Gallagher Jr.) and three Russian cosmonauts (Maria Mashkova, Costa Ronin, Pilou Asbæk).

Signs of tension arise early, and the foreshadowing is less-than-subtle. The sweet-natured Dr. Foster is endeared by a group of lab rats, and one day, wakes up to find they viciously attacked each other. “Why did you do this to each other?”, she asks the ailing rats. And with that, we know this ride through space will not go smoothly. These well-educated men and women of science are really nothing more than lab rats floating in space, and the audience is about to see what happens and when all hell breaks loose in zero gravity.

Panic hits a high when the crew witnesses a humanity-destroying explosion on Earth below. Both teams are directed by their respective countries to take control of the Space Station by whatever means necessary. Alliances are born, wills are tested, and it becomes clear that not everyone is going to make it out alive.

I.S.S. is a comfortable, slick sci-fi that rests somewhere between run-of-the-mill and out-of-this-world. The twists are predictable but still satisfying considering the emotional output we get from the actors. The audience is more like an all-knowing, God-like narrator rather than a helpless character panicking alongside them. Overall, I.S.S. is a fast-paced thriller that will make you think and keep you guessing.

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