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USA 1973
Directed by
Richard Fleischer
97 minutes
Rated PG

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
3.5 stars

Soylent Green

Soylent Green which was based on a1966 novel by Harry Harrison called ‘Make Room! Make Room!’ is a dystopian view of the future which is grounded in the burgeoning environmental movement of the 1960s rather than the sci-fi movie tradition per se.

Set a mere fifty years in the future, in New York in 2022, society is on the verge of collapse due to pollution and over-population and is held together only by brutal military control. Soylent Green is a foodstuff which the population is dependent on for survival. When one of Soylent Corporation's board members (Joseph Cotten) is murdered Det. Thorn (Charlton Heston) is put on the case. He is assisted by an old cop, Solomon ‘Sol’ Roth (Edward G. Robinson, in his last movie role) and together they unearth a terrible secret,

Although Soylent Green is essentially a B-grade picture it is not a cheap one with quality production design and art direction making for a good-looking film.  As an envisioning of the future it is limited to what was then cutting edge interior design (such scenes will be a must-see treat for  ‘60s/’70s style buffs) and proposing up-market apartments that come with a prostitute as part of “the furniture”.  Whilst this is part of the film’s charm the failure to anticipate the Internet in one form or another gives it a certain gimpy quality, more backward-looking than futuristic. In this respect the film would make a good double bill with Truffaut’s Fahrenheit 451 (1966).

FYI:  Heston had played the lead in another dystopian cult favourite, The Omega Man, in 1971.





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