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With a crew of four, apparently on the road for years, the last remaining trees and plants of the US (strangely, or the whole worlds? They don’t say) are on their way through space, in a giant spaceship arrangement where the controlled conditions allow for growing what cannot survive on spoiled Earth anymore. When the mission is cancelled and the astronauts are instructed to nuke the remaining plants before returning home, one of them decides to resist and disobey the orders. He replaces his human colleagues with the more reliable and more human androids, and continues the trip into … not really knowing where.

I took the opportunity of the film being screened at the Hyde Park Movie House in Leeds and watched it more or less simultaneously at home, honouring the nice idea and feeling very linked into the BBC and Dr K. It is a weird movie experience, with the moderate pacing films of the time display, but at the same time it has a certain subjective franticness to it (the car races trhough the spacecraft) and certainly a strong influence of substance abuse on part of the film makers. How else to explain the important role the droids take on, the crazy man versus droids card game sequence, the generally very plausible depiction of a man in solitude losing it, but on a well-reflected level. Maybe the story is about somebody who consciously decides that going crazy is better than many of the alternatives. The excentricties of Wall-E have indeed their roots in this film, no doubt, with the lack of cheesy love story positively working in favour of Silent Running.
I would not go as far as saying that the film works as well today as it did when it was made, but it is clearly one of those films of movie history that will still be watched in many years with great interest and also entertainment. Justifiedly so!

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