Silent Running ★★★★

Douglas Trumbull's strange, hypnotic adventure is - first and foremost - visually stunning... And you expect that, given the talent involved. You expect an arresting production design, model work and special effects that were the very state of the art in the era.

It's also a tour de force performance piece for the very wonderful Bruce Dern.

Those are the surface details. But, beyond that, here's a movie that is pretty much unlike anything else produced in the genre.

Story wise, it's a little slight. A little thin. Because it's not about a story, it's about the message. It's about what's happening, man! It's about our future, you dig?

Seriously, though... Who would have thought that, before they became the figures they became, Michael Cimino and Steven Bochco would collaborate on the ultimate righteous trip for hippies far and wide...with its heartfelt, environmentally conscious moral center and those haunting songs by Joan Baez.

I mean... Of course it had to be Joan Baez. And, okay, you don't expect a hippie movie to accept establishment icons... Like COCA COLA and the fact the space ships are AMERICAN AIRLINES... Until you realize it's probably deliberate and those companies are simply not in on the joke.

It owes a debt to 2001, yes.

But, in turn, movies like Moon and Gravity and - wait for it - Cast Away definitely owe a debt to this. That's just how the cycle of creativity in the mainstream works.

And there you have it.

It's an absolutely odd little film. And I'd also argue it may not be for everyone. But it is a singular experience I'm glad I had...

It's a groovy trip, man! It really is.