Soylent Green (1973)

Soylent Green (1973)

Soylent Green 1973Starring: Charlton Heston, Edward G. Robinson, Leigh Taylor-Young, Chuck Connors, Brock Peters

Directed by: Richard Fleischer

Written by: Stanley R. Greenberg

Rating: PG (US) Running Time: 1 hr 37 min

Two Cents:

New York, 2022, and Detective Thorn (Charlton Heston) is sent to investigate the murder of a wealthy executive, and stumbles on a conspiracy that goes right to the top! Sounds exciting right? Well it isn’t I’m afraid, and the entire reason for the wealthy executive’s death (and catalyst for this whole story) doesn’t make much sense. Why kill someone to keep them quite, yet do so in a way that forces the police to get involved? How the crime is arranged seemed overly elaborate too, considering the victim occasionally visited a local church in a very rough part of the city. Making this man ‘disappear’ then shouldn’t have been so difficult, but this movie throws logic out of the door pretty early on and doesn’t look back.

The year 2022 it seems is going to be very grim, and the movie predicts a future where overpopulation and massive pollution have laid waste to the planet. A time and place where simple pleasures like soap, and clean running water are luxuries enjoyed only by evil rich people. Something this movie keeps reiterating over and over again. I got so tired of scenes with Thorn and his partner Sol (Edward G. Robinson) freaking out over AC, meat and veg, pencils and books. Okay I get it, these things are hard to come by in the future, but for a good portion of the film I wondered if Detective Thorn was actually going to bother investigating this crime. He seemed more interested in stealing as much as he could from the victims apartment!

The movie also doesn’t spend a great deal of time explaining how everything got so screwed up. Sure I got how the world became overpopulated and polluted, but what on Earth lead to women being referred to as ‘furniture?’ A live in slave, Shirl (Leigh Taylor-Young) who literally stays in the apartment with the sofas and tables, and is included when a new tenant moves in. Can you imagine the rental ad?

Modern apartment in upscale neighborhood away from all the pollution and miserable poor people, all new appliances, new kitchen, 1800 sq ft, and a smoking hot live in sex slave! Call for price!

Being freely available for sexual favors however is something Detective Thorn takes full advantage off, which then leads to a clumsy attempt at a love story subplot. Also, Thorn’s partner Sol’s role as a ‘book’ (?) isn’t really explored much either, nor was the fact there seemed to be very few technological advances in the year 2022. Other than a crazy IMAX theater people visit when they want to die, but the mechanics of that aren’t explored either. You show up, tell them your favorite color, and they kill you (somehow) while you listen to light classical music and watch nice images of tulips and deer.

This movie takes an eternity to get to its big reveal, but by the time it gets there, you’ve probably already figured it out. It’s slow, dull, illogical and the big payoff ends up exploding exactly the same way a damp rag doesn’t.

Movie Prep:

If you’re a fan of Charlton Heston then you’ll likely find something to enjoy here. The film is bleak, slow and you’re likely to solve the mystery early on. Watch Soylent Green with expectations set low.

Best Format:

This film does not look all that good, especially the scenes during the day in the streets. With an ugly yellow tinge over each shot (to simulate pollution), it looks like the film reel had taken a bath in sulfur. A regular DVD or streaming show on any device you like will service this film well enough.

Best Moment: << Spoiler! >>

It’s on YOU! Click to reveal.

References: IMDB

 

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