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"Outland" is "High Noon" in outer space. Sean Connery stars as O'Neil, a slightly broken down lawman in a one horse orbital mining colony. And, things are not going so well down at the mines. Workers are losing their minds, hallucinating themselves on fire, and taking one way elevator trips to explosive decompression without their space suits.

While everyone else seems intent on not asking "why," the marshal just won't let well-enough alone. With the help of the cantankerous company doctor, played by Francis Steenburgen, a drug ring is uncovered which implicates the colony's evil general manager (Peter Boyle). The workers are getting bonuses by working double-time, using a nasty designer drug that, within a year, fries their brains.

After the marshal tracks down several dealers, the manager calls in some hired off-world killers to silence him. The countdown-until-shuttle-arrival begins, and continues inexorably, until the violent showdown. In the meantime, O'Neil's men desert him, as the mining personnel leave him to sink or swim on his own.

Even out in orbit, around Saturn, a man's gotta do what he's gotta do, eh?

This is a fine SF western. The sets are pure claustro-industrial; the lighting, your basic dark, moody, backlit stuff. The direction is spare, understated, and ultimately very effective.

(P. Sugarman)



available on home video


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Gareth Branwyn -

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