In the future all plant life on Earth has become extinct. A few specimens have been preserved in enormous, greenhouse-like geodesic domes attached to a fleet of American Airlines space freighters, currently just outside the orbit of Saturn. Freeman Lowell (Bruce Dern), one of four crewmen aboard the Valley Forge, is the resident botanist and ecologist who carefully preserves a variety of plants for their eventual return to Earth and the reforestation of the planet. Lowell spends most of his time in the domes, both cultivating the crops and attending to the animal life. Orders come from Earth to jettison and destroy the domes (with nuclear charges) and return the freighters to commercial service. After four of the six domes are jettisoned and blown up Lowell rebels and opts instead to save the plants and animals on his ship. Lowell kills one of his crew-mates who arrives to plant explosives in his favorite dome, with his right knee seriously injured in the process. He traps the remaining two crewmen in the other dome, just as it is jettisoned and destroyed. Enlisting the aid of the ship’s three service robots, called drones, Lowell stages a fake premature explosion as a ruse and sends the Valley Forge careening towards Saturn in an attempt to hijack the ship and flee with the last forest dome…

“Silent Running” is a 1972 environmentally-themed American science fiction film directed by Douglas Trumbull, who had previously worked as a special effects supervisor on science fiction films, including “2001: A Space Odyssey” and “The Andromeda Strain” and Michael Cimino was one of the screenwriters. In 2008, “Silent Running” was nominated for AFI’s Top 10 Science Fiction Films list.”Silent Running” has been on my to see list forever and it was a treat to finally see it. With this ecopolitical story it does stand out in the genre and its topic is as current as ever. It´s about isolation, alienation, lost causes, and the inevitable future we have created ourselves. It´s a low key movie compared to what you normally see in this genre and with a lesser budget. I do like the cross between deep space hopelessness and the hope for a future. Bruce Dern is great as Freeman showing his complexity as an actor. And the great take on using multiple-amputee actors (Mark Persons, Steve Brown, Cheryl Sparks, and Larry Whisenhunt) playing/operating the three drone robots Huey, Dewey, and Louie (named after Donald Duck’s nephews) breathes truly life into the story. In 2011, 65daysofstatic, an instrumental post-rock and math rock band, released an alternate soundtrack to the film, which is the version I saw and to be honest that was kind of difficult to cope with at times. (3 and half out of 5)

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