This film has been lauded and is even rated in the top 250 by imdb users; why? I don’t know as I found it overwhelmingly derivative: 2001: A Space Odyssey (UK-US, 1969), Silent Running (US, 1972), Dark Star (US, 1974), Solaris (USSR, 1971, US, 2002), Android (US, 1982) and The Truman Show (US, 1999). Of course all films, particularly genre films, are derivative in some way; as Bakhtin suggests, we only understand any film through intertextuality. However, the degree to which this film draws upon others overwhelms it.
That’s not to say that the film is worthless. Sam Rockwell is excellent and the special effects (the film only cost £5m) are very good; though I found the star-filled sky unconvincing – bright stars should be as much points of light as dimmer ones, here they are photographic smears.
The plot twists are too obvious and I still don’t know why a rescue mission was sent. Nonetheless, it is a well-made film.