The story revolves around Lee Miller, a lone astronaut aboard the International Space Station who becomes stranded and loses all contact with Earth. Over the course of the film, he struggles to remain alive and sane. Set against an original score performed by the band, the film attempts to explore the basic human need for contact with others and the power of hope.
Originally announced in 2007 as I-Empire as a tie in with the band's then-recently released second album, it suffered a few setbacks which would eventually see the title changed in time for the third album in 2010. After a few more months of delays, it was announced that the movie would premiere in February 2011 at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival with a limited release soon afterward, along with the album Love Part II. The positive reception it got prompted the group to push back a wide release until fall in order to screen it at more festivals. The film eventually got a limited one day release on August 10th, 2011 and is now available on DVD, Blu-Ray, and digital services. The premiere trailer can be viewed here.
This film provides examples of:
- Ambiguous Ending: The film ends in such a strange and confusing way, so much so that it lead to different theories such as the ending being that aliens take Lee away, whether the device ship was actually something created by mankind to create the idea of human contact, and so many others.
- Artificial Gravity: Eubank joked in an interview that the system that produced it was made by Acme.
- Billions of Buttons: On the ISS
- Bilingual Dialogue: English and French
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: Done as the credits start. "DETECTING LIFE...VERIFY LOCATION...Good evening, tonight has been a wonderful experiment of human contact. A symbiotic relationship between man, and machine, and you. The human brain is capable of millions of connections. Each one is a memory, an event. Tonight shall not be remembered by one, but by thousands of these relationships. As you leave here, tonight, close your eyes, and travel back to here, to now, and always remember that this was one moment. You were not alone, and you felt something that thousands of others have felt, and it was...LOVE..."
- Close on Title: See Breaking the Fourth Wall
- Distant Prologue: The opening scene takes place during the Civil War era, but the main plot takes place in the late 2030's.
- Epileptic Flashing Lights: There are plenty of flashing lights for ambiance and dramatic effect.
- Everybody's Dead, Dave: The apocalypse is implied in the beginning of the film but at the end the ship that Lee ends up on confirms that no one else is left but him.
- Freeze-Frame Bonus: The pages of the book Lee goes through in the ending not only detail the history and discovery of the ship he ends up on but also makes fun of the audience for searching for a Freeze-Frame Bonus in the first place.
- Last of His Kind: Lee Miller
- Precision F-Strike
- Recycled Soundtrack: A good majority of the score is from the Love album, but remixed.
- Scenery Porn: Pretty impressive scenery porn too, considering the film's budget.
- Space Madness: One of the main themes of the film was the necessity of human contact. Being alone for decades abandoned in space with no clue if anyone else on Earth has survived makes Lee...a bit unhinged.
- The World Is Just Awesome
- Trippy Finale Syndrome: Lee's efforts to get off of the ISS end with him boarding the ship, learning that he's the only human left, and that the ship has collected various human experiences. Whatever is talking to Lee is able to change the environment Lee is in and has been looking forward to meeting him. It's unknown if this is actually happening to Lee or another hallucination on his part.
- World of Symbolism: On the surface level, it's about an astronaut dealing with loneliness and isolation after being stranded on the ISS trying to get out of his current situation. On a greater scale, it's about the importance of human connection. The longer that Lee stays in space, the more symbolic and less straightforward the plot gets.
- You Are Not Alone: See Breaking the Fourth Wall
- You Can't Go Home Again: Lee is left aboard the ISS after an apparent cataclysm hits Earth with no contact and no help for rescue. He stays on the ship for years and the one time he tries to leave for Earth he ended up hallucinating the whole thing.
"Does it bother you that we're not real?"