Director Boyle name-checks both Dark Star (1974) – the crew in John Carpenter’s film were tasked with destroying worlds with thermonuclear bombs – and Douglas Trumbull’s Silent Running (1971) – here, too, a garden is humanity’s last hope – and connects these pieces of narrative shorthand to visual cues from Andrei Tarkovsky’s Solaris (1972) and Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968): dark halos and empty corridors convey the crew’s growing unease about the Metaphysics of their mission. Writer Garland prefigures some of the claustrophobia and disquieting Computer authority generated by his scripts for Dredd (2012) and Ex Machina (2015), but 35 painstaking drafts produce a screenplay of two halves: Mythology‘s human music – violence – soon drowns out Cosmology‘s natural static.

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