Lone survivor, doctor Robert Neville, struggles to create a cure for the plague that wiped out most of the human race while fighting The Family, a savage luddite death cult formed by the zombie-like infected to erase the past.
Thinking this will prevent war, the US government gives an impenetrable supercomputer total control over launching nuclear missiles. But what the computer does with the power is unimaginable to its creators.
In a future Earth barren of all flora and fauna, the planet's ecosystems exist only in large pods attached to spacecraft. When word comes in that the pods are to be jettisoned into space and destroyed, most of the crew of the Valley Forge rejoice at the prospect of going home. Not so for botanist Freeman Lowell, who loves the forest and its creatures. He kills his colleagues taking the ship deep into space. Alone on the craft with his only companions being three small robots, Lowell revels in joys of nature. When colleagues appear to "rescue" him, he realizes he has only one option available to him.Written by
The haunting music for the film was written by Peter Schickele, who is known primarily for his classical music parodies under the name of P.D.Q. Bach. See more »
During the space walk when Huey and Dewey show Louie's foot to Freeman, Freeman is wearing a blue space suit that looks like an ocean diver's dry suit, with a thin helmet. The suit does not look overly tight, nor is it inflated, it merely fits snugly without being skin tight. However, in space, he would need an atmosphere inside the suit, meaning it would have to be inflated, and the vacuum of space would explode that foam suit in an instant. See more »
It calls back a time when there were flowers all over the Earth... and there were valleys. And there were plains of tall green grass that you could lie down in - you could go to sleep in. And there were blue skies, and there was fresh air... and there were things growing all over the place, not just in some domed enclosures blasted some millions of miles out in to space.
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In the Italian version, the three drones are named after "Paperino", "Paperone" and "Paperina" ("Donald Duck", "Uncle Scrooge" and "Daisy Duck") because calling them "Qui", "Quo" and "Qua" ("Huey", "Dewey", "Louie") would have been cacophonous: "Vieni qui, Qui!" ("Come here, Huey!"). See more »
In the future all plant life on Earth has become extinct and green forests only exist on remote space stations dedicated to preserve specimens of nature. One such station is maintained by a crew of four and led by an idealistic nature lover named Freeman Lowell (Bruce Dern). When the crew receives an order to destroy the preserve and return to commercial service, Lowell sets out to protect his forests by any means necessary. As a result, he ends up being the only human at the station after it is presumed destroyed and begins a project of teaching his small robot servants to help him to look after the forest. The idyll is hard to maintain, however.
What strikes the viewer immediately about the film is the quality of the sets and props on screen. Huge space stations floating through space reach towards a 2001-esque atmosphere and the production design of the small race cars, the toddling drone robots and the circular pool table looks very nice. The green forest and small animals also look great, and it's fun to see Lowell cultivate his private garden like a king, assisted by childlike drones who he lovingly names Huey, Dewey and Louie after the nephews of Donald Duck.
Unfortunately, what the film wins in visuals, it loses in writing. The wistful wandering in the woods to Joan Baez songs comes across as very naive, even laughably so, and Lowell's idealism contrasted to the indifference of the other crew members doesn't seem too subtle anymore, if it ever did. Even though Lowell spends most of the time completely alone with the mute drones or a just voice on the radio, the film doesn't get much out of the delicious situation. I hoped there would be more focus on the effect of stress, loneliness and guilt on Lowell's mind, but since the forest always stays number one for him, there's not much psychological tension present in the story, or at least it is presented poorly. This ultimately reduces the film to a cute technology show with an environmental message, when it had potential for being a much more thought-provoking sci-fi tale. Even so, the visual style and the tragic ending are easily enough to make Silent Running a very watchable movie; it is also interesting as a product of its socially aware time.
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