Film Review | Soylent Green

People need it…. in the year 2022

Charlton Heston in Soylent Green (1973)

Director: Richard Fleischer

Starring: Charlton Heston, Edward G. Robinson, Leigh Taylor-Young

Genre: Mystery/Sci-fi

Release Date: June 1973

Plot: In the world ravaged by the greenhouse effect and overpopulation, an NYPD detective investigates the murder of a big company CEO.

It’s only a couple of years till the year 2022, I truly hope for a few different reasons that the world doesn’t resemble this when we get there, the lack of animals alone would really suck, never mind what we find out with the twist ending.

Now even though this film is one of the most famous science fictions of all time, I’m going to avoid spoilers in much the same way as my recent review of The Shining, for those of you yet to see this hugely influential movie.

Although set in the 2020s and filmed in the ’70s, Soylent Green feels just as timeless now as when it came out, transporting you to a dog eat dog world in which everyone eats food produced by the Soylent corporation apart from the elite who have access to the last remaining fresh fruit and meat.

The film might appear on the surface as a run of the mill sci-fi, but when you scratch the surface you realise that Fleischer produced a rather intelligent piece of political commentary, touching on the power of the few over the many, overpopulation, modern slavery and how something previously thought of as unthinkable becomes acceptable if you’re desperate enough.

Charlton Heston and Leigh Taylor-Young in Soylent Green (1973)

One of the smartest aspects of the film is its lack of over the to “futuristic” visuals, instead of keeping the story contained in the dark and dingy urban landscape that would expect from a world that was no longer working on bettering itself and instead concentrating on managing the problems at hand.

The standout scene, however, is one that deals with euthanasia, with Thorn’s (Heston) contrasting emotions at the loss of his friend mixing with seeing animals and sunsets for the same time, it really is a touching scene and Heaton does an amazing job to inject emotion to an otherwise quite sterilized plot, that is until the final ten minutes or so.

5 Panda

If you like: The Wicker Man, Logans Run, Planet of the Apes



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