22) Silent Running (1972) Dir: Douglas Trumbull Date Released: March 1972 Date Seen: January 23, 2010 Rating: 4/5
Silent Running is such a stirring character study because it allows Freeman Lowell (Bruce Dern) to languish in his isolation, to take stock of what he has only to have that abruptly taken away from him for no reason. Though Trumbull's movie has its fair share of plotholes (Why did they need to blow up the forests in the first place if they could have jettisoned them into space like Dern does at the end?), the way Lowell confronts his own mortality is devastating. His only friends are robots and even they can't survive or coordinate themselves well enough to provide him with the companionship or the support he needs. Like the forest he sets out to protect, Lowell realizes that he can't stop everything from happening and eventually has to give up, even if he does manage to teach Huey how to care for the forest once he's gone. He knows that he can only do so much and after he does it, he resigns himself to an early death back among a homogeneous future where nothing fluctuates because everything is artificial. Suck on that, diehard Moon fans.