JARVIS CARR reviews Douglass Trumbull’s Sci-Fi Classic Silent Running. Over the past several months, at one point or another, we have all inevitably been faced with the same moral dilemma: to isolate oneself and endure the resulting sense of loneliness for the greater good … or to not. Freeman Lowell (Bruce Dern) finds himself tackling a similar conundrum in the 1972 sci-fi classic Silent Running.  We meet Lowell in the film’s opening scene as he tends to a flower, through the lens of a close shot, which then promptly pans out, revealing the planets and stars of our galaxy in the background. This stark contrast between the abyssal dark of outer space and the unnaturally well-lit greenery of the lush forest provides the first of many surreal images which pervade the film. Not only are we in a biome, but in one of many that are connected to the large…Continue Reading

Silent Running

GEORGIA GOOD reviews Ian McEwan’s new novel Britain, 1982: the Falklands War is beginning, and Thatcher is in Number Ten. It’s a futuristic 1982, with self-driving cars and robotic bin collectors. Yet in some ways, it also feels current: a time of political turbulence, mass protests, and a pervasive online media. Machines Like Me is both a comment on our time and our future, but it’s set in an alternative past. Alive and thriving, Alan Turing pioneered major technological breakthroughs. One result is Adam, ‘a manufactured human with plausible intelligence and looks, believable motion and shifts of expression’. He is both a being and a commodity, a person and a machine. When Adam wakes up, he belongs to Charlie, a young, isolated man, in love with his neighbour Miranda. The three are drawn into a ménage à trois, a philosophical spiral, and a moral state of ambivalence with a crushing…Continue Reading

Machines Like Me