Outland (1981)
October 23, 2022 9:55 AM - Subscribe

A federal marshal stationed at a mining colony on the Jupiter moon of Io uncovers a sinister conspiracy, and soon finds himself marked for murder.
posted by MetaFilter World Peace (18 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
I saw this for the first time a few days ago and was impressed. The art direction is excellent and the movie is paced well. IMO the wife and son should have been cut from the story, and they neglected to explore the perspective of the disgruntled mining union workers. It could have been China Syndrome/Silkwood in space!

The ending was OK but similarly kind of upbeat considering the harsh violence. I was half expecting a nihilist ending. It could have been Chinatown in space!
posted by MetaFilter World Peace at 9:58 AM on October 23, 2022


Isn't it explicitly High Noon in space?
posted by kyrademon at 10:51 AM on October 23, 2022 [7 favorites]


*hearteyes* Dr. Lazarus

One hunnnndrrrrreeeeed. One thooooouuuuusaaaaaand.
I'm unpleasant, not stupid.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 10:51 AM on October 23, 2022 [4 favorites]


Isn't it explicitly High Noon in space?

More-or-less, yeah.

I remember mostly liking this film, but I also seem to remember feeling like it missed a whole lot of opportunity to be a lot better. I guess I’d have to watch it again to figure out why. I’m guessing it was the excessive violence.
posted by Thorzdad at 12:12 PM on October 23, 2022


I saw this in the theater as a kid, when I was way too young to be watching people explode in the vacuum of space. And now that’s pretty much all I remember of it!
posted by ejs at 12:16 PM on October 23, 2022


Oooh, we had a VHS copy of this, probably taped off HBO. I mostly remember it coming at a time when it felt like we were starved for relatively hard sci-fi. I was definitely too young to be watching that eye-bulging explosive decompression scene and OH LOOK YOU CAN GET THE HEAD
posted by phooky at 1:06 PM on October 23, 2022 [1 favorite]


And I also remember this film being the first time I'd ever seen an older woman presented as a romantic lead. (Frances Sternhagen was only 51 at the time, and is still around.)
posted by phooky at 1:14 PM on October 23, 2022 [1 favorite]


I do love this movie, but shotguns... in space. Someone thought that was a good idea.
posted by Molesome at 1:28 PM on October 23, 2022 [1 favorite]


I saw this for the first time a few days ago and was impressed. The art direction is excellent and the movie is paced well.

Yep, it's a really nicely shot, gritty and smart scifi film that for some reason never achieved Classic status, which is a shame. A plot from a Western sets up a perfect blend of noir detective and outer space elements that feels more realistic than, say, the Hat Man stuff in the first season of The Expanse. And the acting is fantastic all around, with one of Sean Connery's best performances. Everyone has this kind of defeated "we're in outer space but so what" weariness that in 1981 was like a breath of fresh air among all the Star Wars knockoffs.

Justwatch says no streamer offers Outland currently as part of a sub, but it's so worth the $3 to rent.
posted by mediareport at 1:48 PM on October 23, 2022 [2 favorites]


Simple movie but good.

It is High Noon in space yah, but it doesn't have the feeling of a morality play the way HN does, there's no feeling of church or community to create the feeling that people should be helping but they are not, so it's not really like it at all. It's less... but still an okay little space nwoirstern.
posted by fleacircus at 7:54 PM on October 23, 2022


It is High Noon in space yah, but it doesn't have the feeling of a morality play the way HN does, there's no feeling of church or community to create the feeling that people should be helping but they are not, so it's not really like it at all. It's less... but still an okay little space nwoirstern.

Yeah, pretty much everyone Connery goes to for help except the doctor points out, accurately, that it's really his job. And where the killer in High Noon was riding into town looking for revenge for something that happened before the movie, the killers are coming for Connery because of his in-story choice to rock the boat -- which we wasn't expected to do, being basically a burnout assigned to a dead-end post, so the others also imply rightly that he's in this situation by choice.
posted by Gelatin at 5:10 AM on October 24, 2022


I do love this movie, but shotguns... in space. Someone thought that was a good idea.

Minor spoilers ahead:

If memory serves me correctly, it's actually flat panes of glass that aren't a good idea for holding pressure. Though it also isn't a hot idea to fire a shotgun at them, either. (Roger Ebert pointed out the flaw that a supposedly professional assassin could be tricked into shooting at them.)

That said, at least shotgun pellets lose their energy relatively quickly, so as long as one wasn't shooting directly at a pressure bulkhead, they make more sense than pistols or rifles.
posted by Gelatin at 5:13 AM on October 24, 2022




I pull this movie out when I'm hanging out with people who can't commit to "let's watch a Film" but are easily swayed by a pitch like "let's watch Sean Connery in space with a shotgun (1981)."
posted by 4th number at 7:45 AM on October 24, 2022


I love this movie and consider it a part of the Alien "space truckers" universe. Working class sci-fi, if you will. Definitely an under-appreciated classic that I feel holds up. And yes, the doc is maybe one of the greatest supporting characters ever?
posted by slimepuppy at 2:43 PM on October 24, 2022 [4 favorites]


For rental in most places. JustWatch listing.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 2:45 PM on October 24, 2022


At the time Outland appeared, the main topic of mockery among science fiction fans was the space helmet, which has the stupidest design. How is the astronaut supposed to see out? It's reflection city, man!
posted by Harvey Kilobit at 7:33 PM on October 24, 2022


I love this movie and consider it a part of the Alien "space truckers" universe.

I'll mention this one regret. I didn't get that "Con-Am 27" baseball cap advertised in Starlog.
posted by mikelieman at 6:13 AM on October 25, 2022 [1 favorite]


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