The film has heavy shadings of three space classics: 2001, Solaris and Silent Running, both in the way it's designed and in its quiet examination of human nature. When reality starts slipping from his grasp, Sam faces an existential crisis and must figure out who he is regardless of what anyone has told him.
And this is what gives the film its kick, even when the plot itself becomes a bit subtle or vague.
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The film is expected to continue without Mendes' involvement.