Home > Genre, horror, Movie Review, scifi > Movie Review: Soylent Green (1973)

Movie Review: Soylent Green (1973)

People being fed into a chipper with a man in front running away.Summary:
In the then moderately distant future of 2022, the world has turned to being a congested chaos due to overpopulation and global warming.  People survive on various colors of food-like paste sold by Soylent, the favorite of which is Soylent Green.  When a police man is called in to investigate the murder of an unusually wealthy man, he realizes it all has to do with the Soylent Corporation and makes a sinister discovery.

Obviously I came at this movie knowing the “spoiler” that Soylent Green is people.  What scifi nerd hasn’t heard that quote?  Still, even coming in knowing the big secret, I was expecting more from this film.  By far the most enjoyable portion takes place in the wealthy man’s condo where we learn women have come to be attached to condo’s as part of the “furniture” and are passed along with the condo from owner to owner.  In return for being the lady of the house, they get safety, security, and food.  A whole other story could be told with what is essentially a return to the caveman way of doing things.  Unfortunately, this gets glossed over for the supposedly more interesting plot line.

The story is told like a 1970s futuristic version of a film noir.  We have the detective fighting all odds to get to the nitty gritty truth of the story.  Of course, this is the 1970s version of a future dystopia.  As such, the wealthy dwellings look straight out of a 1970s porno, and the unfortunate dystopic surroundings of the poor look eerily similar to a hot and sweaty version of communist Russia.  It’s an odd dichotomy that doesn’t quite work.

I was waiting for the film to move from setting up the dystopia to slowly building the horror up, but it never happened.  Honestly, given the intensely overpopulated surroundings these people live in and severe lack of food, I actually came away thinking that recycling the dead almost seemed logical, and being a vegetarian, that’s quite the leap for me to make!  Clearly the film missed its mark somehow.  When the policeman rants about the humans being treated as cattle, all I could think was how earlier in the film both he and a friend drooled over a slab of beef.  Why should I be horrified that he feels as if he’s being treated like cattle when he would willingly treat cattle exactly the same way?  I was left with no sympathy for him, only for the women who get passed along as furniture with the condo’s in this future.

Overall, Soylent Green had the potential to tell an interesting story of a future where women revert back to their old subservient roles as a survival tactic.  Instead, it unfortunately veers off toward a storyline I find unsympathetic and that rings as falsely horrifying given the general set-up of the movie.  There are far better 1970s horror films out there, as well as better dystopias.

2 out of 5 stars

Source: Netflix

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  1. October 21, 2011 at 1:28 pm

    Old enough to recall the movie; the world today becoming a sad reflection of that prediction.

  1. September 30, 2012 at 5:16 pm

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