SXSW 2014: ‘Space Station 76’ is a look at the future we used to know
Directed by Jack Plotnick
Written by Jennifer Elise Cox, Sam Pancake, Jack Plotnick, Kali Rocha, and Michael Stoyanov
Space Station 76 begins with a narration musing on the impermanence and isolation of asteroidal paths. It’s the overarching metaphor in a film that is hilariously set in a nostalgic, 1970s version of the future and populated with hurt, dysfunctional, and yearning characters.
Glen (Patrick Wilson) is the alcoholic, abrasive, and suicidal captain of the Omega 76; Jessica (Liv Tyler) is new aboard and although much more competent than her counterparts, she is struggling with her own maternal inabilities; Ted (Matt Bomer) is an earnest but naive mechanic who lives with Misty (Marisa Coughlan), his philandering wife, and their lonely, precocious daughter Sunshine (Kylie Rogers). Together, this motley cast of characters explores what it means to live in a future built on expectations from the past. What happens when people float aimlessly along their lives without any real change or contact with each other? Like the asteroid slowly hurting towards them, there is always a chance of a change in course.
This all materializes through a blend of humor, self-examination, and throwback sci-fi aesthetics. The production design is lifted from every 70s sci-fi with wry humor ranging from the omniscient on-board computer to the scene stealing psychiatrist, Doctor Bot. Fans looking for a kick of nostalgia and a thoughtful comedy should be sure to check out Space Station 76.