often-overlooked sci-fi classic, Soylent Green presents the viewers
with a grim look at a bleak future. Set in 2022 New York City, this 'Seventies
science-fiction movie did well at the box office then and was particularly popular
in the French speaking world as Soleil Vert. This flick is a sort of Eco-thriller
not uncommon for its time. What sets it aside from many dubious movies of the
kind is a good main actor (Charlton Heston), an original story and
a subtle way to fluidly mingle a social critique and mild-paced action without
being too corny or obvious. Adding the thought that this kind of future might
happen and you've got a film that is still true and believable.
Set in an poor, overpopulated and heavily-polluted world where fresh food and
tap water are commodities only the very rich can afford, Soylent Green
is the story of a cop (Charlton Heston) investigating a murder committed
amongst the elite of society. Through his investigation he will discover a terrible
conspiracy which just might shake the actual foundation of civilization.
would say that this flick aged badly since its 1973 release, that many styles
and concepts (free sex & bad haircuts not unlike Logan's Run (1976)) would
not even apply today. I like to see the small technical flaws like a reminder
that a great movie can still forecast the future in general while setting its
environment in a style the viewers (at the time) can connect to. I believe that
such a contemporary setting helps in selling the idea, as well as theater tickets.
Still, seeing a sex worker playing "state-of-the-art" black and white
Asteroids on a vertex-based arcade machine encased in a groovy round beige-plastic
console brings a childish smile to my face every time.
Soylent Green might not be your modern shoot-em-up action/adventure/sci-fi
mix like Starship Troopers (1997) or Independence Day (1996), but it
offers instead a meditative look at a future that might be. If you like thought
provoking visions like 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) and Gattaca (1997), then Soylent Green
is definitively worth a good look.
Review by René-Marc Simard.