Something That You Should Watch… 1. Outland

After deliberating what to write next, I came upon the idea of trying to find the films that I have seen through my years, that some of you may have never seen, let alone heard of!!

So to start the ball rolling, I present…..Outland, a 1981 science fiction thriller starring Sean Connery. I stumbled across this a few years ago, whilst not being able to sleep and channel hopping, and proceeded to be engrossed and entertained by it. Imagine if you will, a Western in space. And before you start going ” Oh dear, a western” hear me out!

To sum it up simply, Connery plays William O’Niel, a Federal Marshal assigned for a tour of duty at a titanium ore mine of Io, one of Jupiter’s moons. The mine is owned  by Con Amalgamate 27, and run by manager Mark Sheppard (Peter Boyle) and is experiencing a consistent run of success, breaking records along the way. But things are not all they seem, workers are killing themselves, the opening scene depicts a worker claiming to see spiders in his space suit, before ripping it open and dying as a result of decompression.

O’Niel then teams with Dr Lazarus (Frances Sternhagen) to find out why workers are killing themselves, leading to the discovery of a drug which is being distributed by Sheppard whilst other members of the mine police force turn a blind eye, notably O’Niel’s 2nd in command, Montone. O’Neil, who is left alone on the mine, after his wife and son leave for a ship home to Earth, takes it upon himself to bring the corruption down, despite the constant threats of Sheppard. After busting a shipment of drugs, O’Niel finds that Sheppard has hired hit men to take him out. O’Niel prepares for their arrival, against the backdrop of a running clock countdown. This leads to a cat and mouse game round the station as O’Neil fights off the hired guns, and a turncoat amongst his ranks. O’Niel survives, before confronting Sheppard in the station bar. After laying him out, he tenders his resignation, bids his goodbyes and departs for the shuttle for Earth.

Now to draw a conclusion why you should watch this film. Firstly, Sean Connery is superb as the battered hero, who’s had his wings clipped. You learn that he’s got an attitude towards authority and as a result, is pushed around the back waters of the marshal service. In his scenes with Sheppard (Again an equally impressive Peter Boyle), the tension is fraught, Connery’s hero trading verbal blows with Sheppard’s corrupt villain. The action scenes are frantic yet claustrophobic given the mining station setting. Tension builds throughout, with few twists and turns along the way, don’t want to spoil too much for you though!

If you want a film that will keep you on edge, gives you something different to your normal science thriller, then I highly recommend this classic which deserves to be brought to a wider audience. Now make like Mr Connery and run to get yourself a copy!

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One thought on “Something That You Should Watch… 1. Outland

  1. Pingback: ‘Outland,’ or When Science Fiction Becomes Sordid Reality | Patos Papa

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