Friday, June 26, 2015
Mini-Review - "Soylent Green" (1973)
The unfortunately sad truth about "Soylent Green" is that most people only remember the film for its twist ending, though said ending has been ranked as one of the best twists in all of cinema. But it is too bad because "Soylent Green" does have a bit to offer outside of that twist.
In particular "Soylent Green" has a sickening atmosphere that matches the all too realistic future setting. Ask most scientists what is the biggest problem that humanity must face in the future, and every answer you'll get will come back to the same instigator - overpopulation. The world was not made to support seven billion human and growing, and as a result our resources will slowly being to dwindle, our environment will fade away to support the incoming supply of humans and poverty will set in for most societies.
"Soylent Green" takes the problem of overpopulation to its ultimate conclusion - 40 million people living in New York City, most animals are extinct including the animals we use for food, 30 million people are without a job, and even the people that do have income and a place to live have never seen vegetables, meat, books or a hot shower. There is a sick green mist throughout most outdoor scenes, as if the air is polluted, giving the film a feeling that everyone is sick and dying, including the planet.
It paints a drastic picture of a future where survival is everything, even if it means stealing from others who are more fortunate. The main character, Frank Thorn (Charlton Heston), has a decent job as a detective, but takes every opportunity he can get to steal from the rich so that he and his friend, Sol Roth (Edward G. Robinson, in his last role), can enjoy the small things that remind them the earth was once plentiful and beautiful.
For this reason, the twist ending seems almost logical from a business stand point. The Soylent company is fighting to save the human race from extinction, and is using the resources that they have left to do so. It just so happens that those resources are unethical and immoral.
"Soylent Green" is one of the few science fiction films that depicts a future that seems so real that it is frightening. From the crowded hallways of apartment complexes to the inability to move through the city without taking an hour to go one block, there is this fear that we are not too far off from that if we continue to populate without considering the ramifications.
Final Grade: B