"Soylent Green is..." no longer much of a surprise since Charlton Heston's climactic line has joined Planet of the Apes' "You maniacs" rant in the oft-quoted annals of Heston overacting. One of a cycle of early-'70s downbeat eco-science fiction films akin to Silent Running (1971) and Heston's The Omega Man (1971), Soylent Green presents Heston as another dystopian savior in a future shock vision that teeters on the fine line between clever and stupid. When not sleeping with dead magnate Joseph Cotten's comely "furniture" Leigh Taylor-Young (apparently feminism went down the drain with the food supply), Heston attempts to solve the mystery of Cotten's murder. The sickly green exterior haze, people sleeping on stairs, and the bulldozers that disturbingly clear riots, however, are enough to tip us off to the insidious secret ingredient in everyone's favorite bio-engineered snack long before Chuck witnesses the "waste" processing plant himself. Still, the opening montage of 20th century decay and Edward G. Robinson's heartfelt performance (in his final film) as a man old enough to know how beautiful and well-fed the earth used to be give moments of emotional heft to Soylent Green's ominous -- and still timely -- message about environmental desecration.
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Richard Fleischer directed this nightmarish science fiction vision of an over-populated world, based on the novel by Harry Harrison. In 2022, New York City is a town bursting at the seams with a 40-million-plus population. Food is in short supply, and most of the population's food source comes from synthetics manufactured in local factories -- the dinner selections being a choice between Soylent Red, Soylent Yellow, or Soylent Green. When William Simonson (Joseph Cotten), an upper-echelon executive in the Soylent Company, is found murdered, police detective Thorn (Charlton Heston) is sent in to investigate the case. Helping him out researching the case is Thorn's old friend Sol Roth (Edward G. Robinson, in his final film role). As they investigate the environs of a succession of mad-from-hunger New Yorkers and the luxuriously rich digs of the lucky few, Thorn uncovers the terrible truth about the real ingredients of Soylent Green.
All Movie Guide - Lucia Bozzola
|Source:||Warner Home Video|
|Sound:||[Dolby Digital Mono]|