Saturday, April 30, 2011

Soylent Green (1973)

In the year 2022, overpopulation and global warming have destroyed all of Earth's natural resources. The rich live in ivory towers, while the poor huddle together in shanty towns and crowded corridors. With no fresh foods available to the public, people have come to rely on the Soylent Corporation for a sustainable vegetable-concentrate known as Soylent Green, but a corporate assassination will lead detective Robert Thorn into discovering the horrifying secret behind the mysterious food source...

As a film, SOYLENT GREEN may show many obvious signs of aging since its 1973 release, but the 'final solution' that it represents is no less chilling, subversive, and relevant in today's overcrowded society. Richard Fleisher's vision of the future is filled with many nightmarish images, most memorably the scene in which crowds of people are scooped up and dumped into large garbage trucks like cattle. The same sequence finds the poor clamoring over each other just for a small ration of food, which is a sad reminder of the real-life difficulties around the world that are so easily overlooked by privileged societies. Legendary leading man Charlton Heston steals every scene with his boorish mannerisms and booming screen presence, but it is Edward G. Robinson's portrayal of the regret-filled Sol who becomes the most endearing as he takes simple pleasures in a piece of celery or a picture from the past. Though it lacks the mind-bending special effects that typically filled the Science Fiction staples of the 70's, the intriguing mystery and suspense coupled with its shocking ending make SOYLENT GREEN another all-time classic!

Rating: 9/10.

If you liked SOYLENT GREEN, check out:
A CLOCKWORK ORANGE, THE OMEGA MAN, THE STEPFORD WIVES.

7 comments:

  1. I watched this on video from the library and missed the final third. The tape had audio but the video was all snow. I had to settle for just hearing the line. I was going to watch it on Netflix but they took it from streaming before I could.

    I didn't recognize Robinson. He was much different than anything else I had seen him in. Totally showing his range here. His last picture.

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  2. That is really a shame Fred, did you at least get to the part with the people movers? I'm sure you were able to construct enough visuals in your mind since the film is much higher in suspense than concept. Heston feels much more at home in this role over THE OMEGA MAN, in my opinion.

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  3. Missed the people movers, but I kinda figured out what was going on. It'll get seen eventually. Omega Man as well.

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  4. This is probably one of the most underrated horror films ever because it is so heavy character and story driven without a lot of high tech special effects.

    I saw this in movie theater when it first came out and the ending was shocking and you could hear gasps and gags at different intervals all over the theater as the light bulb in the person head went off as to what comprised the prized "Soylent Green" that everyone craved over the other "Soylents" available.

    If you come across it at your local library or video store or in your TV Guide, highly recommend this movie.

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  5. 100% agree Kathryn, I only wish I could have been in the theater myself instead of finding this one after decades of pop culture referencing. Fabulous story, and I am sure it left that much more of an impression at the time!

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  6. Soylent Green is on the menu in about 25 years. Love your site by the way.

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  7. Kevin, thanks for reading and for all of the great comments! How did you find ILHM? Glad to have you, and welcome to the site!

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