Silent Running (1972) 3.71/5 (1)


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Rating: The Good – 72.3
Genre: Science Fiction
Duration: 89mins
Director: Douglas Trumbull
Stars: Bruce Dern, Cliff Potts, Ron Rifkin

Extraordinary sci-fi movie about a fleet of ships housing the last of Earth’s forests and one of its caretakers who takes matters into his own hands when the crew are ordered to destroy their precious cargo so the ships can be returned to commercial service. Bruce Dern gives a uniquely pensive performance as the self proclaimed protector of these last remnants of plant and animal life. For an actor who is best remembered for his more in-your-face performances it’s an admirable change of pace made more so by the fact that he manages to carry the entire film with such little dialogue and so few on-screen partners. Naturally, Douglas Trumbull’s (he who was responsible for 2001: A Space Odyssey‘s visual effects) patient and visually stunning direction helps him substantially in that regard and combined, the two men ensure that this film becomes something far greater than most science fiction delivers. In fact, Silent Running can held in the same lofty regard as films like The Wicker Man, maverick cinematic achievements which break all the rules and come up with something uniquely resonating. You’ll need to give it time to work its magic but once it gets hold of you, it’ll stay with you forever. Silent Running became a cult favourite amongst hardcore sci-fi fans and filmmakers alike so much so that even to this day, films such as Duncan Jones’s Moon are nodding affectionately at its influence.

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