The International Space Station always stood for the ideals of peace, harmony and cooperation that are harder to come by on planet Earth. In the first trailer for “I.S.S.,” starring Ariana DeBose, Chris Messina, Pilou Asbæk, John Gallagher Jr., Costa Ronin and Maria Mashkova, those ideals are tested when the astronauts notice that World War III is breaking out below them.
“I.S.S.” started life as a script that was included on the 2020 Black List (the annual list that tallies Hollywood’s best unproduced screenplays) and almost immediately was green lit for production. The movie eventually premiered in 2023 at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York and gained distribution shortly after. The trailer is certainly intriguing.
There’s a particularly “Twilight Zone”-ish conceit at the heart of “I.S.S.” that is undeniable, and which the trailer makes explicitly clear – what if you had no idea what was going on back home and were also stuck in a pressure cooker with astronauts from a country the United States is potentially warring with? It’s a great set-up for drama and suspense and if anybody can pull off that paranoia and unease, it’s this excellent cast of actors (led by recent Oscar winner DeBose, who can currently be heard in Disney’s animated “Wish”).
The movie was directed by Gabriela Cowperthwaite, who successfully toggles between narrative features and documentary films. Perhaps most famously. Cowperthwaite directed “Blackfish,” the documentary on SeaWorld and its killer whales, which resulted in the theme park company discontinuing the use of the marine mammals and suffering great financial blowback.
“I.S.S.” hits theaters on January 19, 2024.