Monday, September 12, 2011

Silent Running (1972)

Director: Douglas Trumbull

Starring: Bruce Dern, Cliff Potts, Ron Rifkin, Jesse Vint

More info: IMDb

Tagline: Amazing companions on an incredible adventure... that journeys beyond imagination!

Plot: The loner crew member of a spaceship harbouring Earth's last nature reserves goes renegade when he is instructed to jettison his beloved forests and return home. Accompanied only by three robots, he ponders the fate of his last pocket of nature and the murders of his fellow crew members in this far-looking speculative film.

My rating: 8/10

Will I watch it again? Yes.

Every few years I feel the need to come back to this one. It's good science fiction back when a lot of sci-fi was thought provoking and not just ships pew-pewing through space. Bruce Dern carries the picture with a strong performance. After all these years I'm still not used to the Joan Baez songs. Those are a bit much but I dig the overall message of the picture. HUGE SPOILER ALERT! Why did Dern blow himself up with the main ship rather than stay with the forest? Is it because of the limited living space or maybe he didn't want to be found out? I've never figured that one out. END OF SPOILERS...YARRRRR! So really, besides the songs and the dated Peter Schickele score and the questionable ending, it's a great directorial debut for Trumbull, the guy who did the groundbreaking special effects for 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY (1968) and CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND (1977).

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