Outland

Outland

***1/2

Reviewed by: Stephen Carty

In simple terms, Outland essentially takes the Gary Cooper-starring Western High Noon and remakes it in space. Written and directed by the underrated journeyman Peter Hyams, the result is an underrated yarn which is both tense and dark.

During a one-year tour of duty aboard a mining outpost on Jupiter’s Moon, Marshall William T O'Niel (Sean Connery) investigates a few violent deaths. Discovery that they’re linked to a dangerous performance-enhancing drug which eventually causes psychosis, the trail leads him to the general manager Sheppard (Peter Boyle). Finding no allies aside from the argumentative Doctor Lazarus (Frances Strenhagen), things worsen for Marshall when hired assassins arrive for him.

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As with any movie he’s in, the trump card is Connery. On top accenty form (“he’s an arrssshhhole”), his verbal sparring with Boyle’s suitably-slimy bossman are the reasons to watch. Yes, the empty and desolate feeling that the impressively-created space-station provides results in a fantastically-taught atmosphere, but it’s the great Scot who keeps our attention.

Which is why, despite the impressive nature of the camera work - most of the many chases are filmed with steadicam - the overlong action scenes aren’t the highlight they should be. Indeed, when you’ve got an actor with as much natural screen-presence as Sir Sean, it’s almost a crime to have such long periods without dialogue.

Gritty, throbbing with mood and featuring plenty of Connery’s unique brogue, there’s plenty to like about Outland, the only problem being, with all the long dialogue-free action sequences, nobody in space can hear them…

Reviewed on: 03 Oct 2009
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Outland packshot
A Jupiter moon mining settlement's marshall discovers deaths at the outpost are linked to a drug.
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