Silent Running ★★

Space faring conservationist Dern and crew are asked by authorities to nuke their precious cargo: the last of Earth's remaining vegetation. Refusing to follow orders, Dern kills his crewmates and strands himself in space with two drones in order to preserve the plants. There is no rhyme or reason to what happens in the film. Why have plants carried across space? How is destroying them a benefit? This hippy really just killed three men remorselessly? It's not that the answers to these questions are a mystery to be debated or interpreted, much like the ending of 2001 is open to interpretation. The film does not provide reasons because its an oversimplifies; the premise itself is more important than the context. What follows is Dern trying to fill up his time, tending to plants, playing poker with the drones, etc, often set to montages built around Joan Baez' cringeworthy songs. Rather boring stuff, without an antagonist in sight to boot. Douglas Trumbull, in his directorial debut, was the wiz behind the special effects in 2001. For that reason, the film and the spaceships look good (albeit seemingly done on a lower budget), but what he left out was a story worth telling.

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