In the sci-fi thriller R.T.L.S. (Return To Launch Site), Lewis, an astronaut at the end of his three-year mission exploring the moons of Saturn, is planning his return trip to earth.
Assisting him with preparations is his escape pod's artificial intelligence (A.I.) SEBASTIAN. Excited by the prospect of seeing his loved ones again, Lewis begins to notice something is ... amiss with the A.I.
He soon realizes SEBASTIAN has drastically different plans for the conclusion of the mission.
R.T.L.S. was written and directed by Lewis Coates, whose earlier short film, SYNOPTICA, also dealt with themes surrounding our tentative and precarious relationship to technology.
His latest effort pays homage to other sci-fi cautionary tales depicting the perils of rogue A.I.s - especially the classic motion picture 2001: A Space Odyssey.
Like the iconic HAL 9000, the male dulcet tones of A.I. SEBASTIAN is at once off-putting and chilling. As Lewis realizes the A.I. is actively working against him, SEBASTIAN's calm reassurances serve to ratchet up the film's sense of ever-mounting dread.
Coates setting the short's action solely within the confines of a tomb-like escape pod - instead of a cavernous spacecraft - lends the film a claustrophobic feel that effectively heightens its dramatic tension to the nth degree.
The short also incorporates breathtaking NASA footage of Saturn, giving verisimilitude to Lewis' predicament and the high stakes involved.
Watch R.T.L.S. in its entirety here ...
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