From The Grindhouse Cinema Database
The environmental issue was a big deal in 70's films and there are many that tell us about the polluted future like Silent Running or Logan's Run. There's one film that predicts the future especially well. It forewarns us that global warming will become worse, meat and plants will become rarer, the population rate higher, and the poor will get poorer while the rich get richer. This dystopian tale is called Soylent Green.
What is Soylent Green by the way? Soylent Industries is a company that makes a substitute food it provides to people. There are three types of Soylent products: Soylent Red, Soylent Yellow (made of soybeans) and Soylent Green (which is the most nutritious one). After the opening credits which consist of montages between the quiet past, the chaotic 70's and the post-apocalyptic wasteland (which is to me more effective than the text crawl or boring narrations) the story begins.
Thorn (Heston), an anti-hero detective has to investigate the death of William R. Simonson, a member of the board of Soylent Industries, a company that makes a food consisting of plankton from the ocean. At first it looks like an ordinary murder by a burglar, but it turns out to be something much worse. Simonson was killed because he knows a secret about Soylent Green. After Thorn discovers this fact, the government try to stop him from the investigation and try to close Simonson's case. So, Thorn has to find the proof about Soylent Green before that occurs.
The plot sounds thrilling but modern audiences might not like it since it has very slow pacing, a sparse score and only a few scenes with fighting. In fact, this is not an action/thriller so much as it's a sci-fi/crime movie. I think it has the slow pacing to make the audience understand what it's like in this chaotic future, which is very effective. Plus, you have no idea how it's going to end. (Unless you read the spoiler in "Cool Quotes" section of this page **BEWARE!!**)
The vision of this film is simply awesome. It's like a combination of Stanley Kubrick's A Clockwork Orange and Halloween III: Season Of The Witch (surprisingly, this film reminds me most of Halloween III, especially the final scene). Speaking of the city, there's one place in the film that looks cool and stupid at the same time. It's called "Home", a government service that provides you a final beautiful moment in your life before you die because of suicide. There's a character that goes there because he can't stand the truth of Soylent Green. If you opened this place in real life, who would want to sit in bed, drink a glass of wine (like The Last Supper?), watch a montage of beautiful nature while classical music plays and then die? The world might be a cruel place to live, but I'm pretty sure that if we opened this kind of place either no one would go there or the world population would be reduced dramatically.
Soylent Green might be boring for some people, but since events in this film have nearly predicted the future, everyone should watch it.
Nuttawut Permpithak hails from Thailand. He spends his free time watching exploitation films (or any films from the past) writing articles, taking photos and reviewing films for GCDb.