Review: ‘Silent Running’

Silent Running depends on the excellent special effects of debuting director Douglas Trumbull and his team and on the appreciation of a literate but broadly entertaining script. Those being the highlights, they are virtually wiped out by the crucial miscasting of Bruce Dern. Production lacks dramatic credibility and teeters on the edge of the ludicrous.

Silent Running depends on the excellent special effects of debuting director Douglas Trumbull and his team and on the appreciation of a literate but broadly entertaining script. Those being the highlights, they are virtually wiped out by the crucial miscasting of Bruce Dern. As a result, the production lacks much dramatic credibility and often teeters on the edge of the ludicrous.

Dern and three clod companions man a space vehicle in a fleet of airships containing vegetation in case the earth again can support that type of life. But the program is scuttled, all hands are recalled, but Dern decides to mutiny. In the process, he kills his three shipmates and goes deeper into space. His only companions are two small robots, whose life-like qualities are rather touching.

Silent Running

Production

Universal. Director Douglas Trumbull; Producer Michael Gruskoff; Screenplay Deric Washburn, Michael Cimino, Steven Bochco; Camera Charles F. Wheeler; Editor Aaron Stell; Music Peter Schickele; Art Director [uncredited]

Crew

(Color) Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1972. Running time: 89 MIN.

With

Bruce Dern Cliff Potts Ron Rifkin Jesse Vint
Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 1

Leave a Reply

1 Comment

Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

  1. Hayden Smith says:

    A rather aged critique, if ever I saw one, and I even traced an “RP” British accent throughout! :-)

    This amazing movie came out shortly after I was born, and during the ‘Moon-Shots’, so, space in some, way, shape, or form was on everyone’s mind. Space ventures also gave us a new photography – particularly that of a fragile green Earth, utterly lost in a barren space desert of nothingness. It was a budget film, but sometimes they are the best, right!? :-D It involved an embryonic, sub-conscious, nascent Green movement before the movement even began! The science is somewhat dubious, sure, but it represented a voice that in those days got precious little airing.

    Silent Running is an ART Film that expresses these human feelings of arrogance, anger, and an aching sense of loss. The “craziness” or “ludicrousness” of Bruce Dern matches perfectly with the fanatical personality needed to get the job done in reality – so, to this extent, I have no idea what the original critic above was talking about. How would YOU react, if the last biological life was planned for extermination? I’m sure prisoners in Auschwitz, for example, would have no problem answering that question!

    The effects are shockingly futuristic, and the music is unforgettably atmospheric – and deep enough for the sensitive. A creaky but effective film.

More Film News from Variety

Loading