Sunday, 25 November 2012

Film Review: SOYLENT GREEN (1973)

Soylent Green - poster Director: Richard Fleischer
Writers: Stanley R. Greenberg (Screenplay), Harry Harrison (Novel)
Running time: 93 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 15

Genre: Drama/Mystery/Sci-Fi
USA Release date: 9th May 1973

Watched on DVD Sunday 25th November 2012.


This is one of the films I picked up on DVD some time ago but never seemed to find the time to watch. Fortunately a window of opportunity arose earlier today and I was able to give it a viewing. It’s a film I have seen before but that was some time ago so I was glad of the opportunity to reacquaint myself with this classic. Here’s a very brief summary before I give you my thoughts.

Soylent Green - 2 The year is 2022 and the world population is out of control; one of the consequences of this is a food crisis. How do you feed an ever growing population with limited resources? Our story focuses on a cop, Detective Thorn (Charlton Heston), who is lucky enough to share an apartment with his ‘book’, Sol Roth (Edward G. Robinson in his last role); a ‘book’ is a kind of researcher. Thorn is investigating the suspicious death of a rich lawyer, William R. Simonson (Joseph Cotten), who had been a board member of the Soylent corporation; a company responsible for supplying food to the masses. Although not suspects, Simonson’s bodyguard, Tab Fielding (Chuck Connors) and his ‘furniture’, Shirl (Leigh Taylor-Young) feature quite heavily in his investigation. As Thorn closes in on the truth things get more and more dangerous for him; but it is Sol who discovers the terrible truth! So shocking it drives him to his death.

Soylent Green - 8 All the performances are great, but I particularly liked Edward G. Robinson who, in his last role, pulls out all the stops and really shines in this one. His death scene is one of the best I’ve ever witnessed on screen and he really gets to show his talents here. Also worthy of note were Charlton Heston (of course) playing the hero role with his usual aplomb and Leigh Taylor-Young who I thought did a very good job as the female lead. The film has quite a slow pace and I like the way it doesn’t stop every few minutes to explain everything. The filmmakers did give the audience some credit for intelligence (for a change) and I appreciated that! Beautifully shot with a nice score but my favourite scene will always be Sol’s death; it’s one that will stay with you for a long time! I did enjoy this one over all, although I thought the fight scenes did look like they’d been taken right out of a western. Still, well worth a look!

SteelMonster’s verdict: RECOMMENDED

My score: 7.2/10

IMDb Score: 7.0/10 (based on 26,375 votes at the time of going to press).

MetaScore: No Data: (Based on 0 critic reviews provided by at the time of going to press).

Soylent Green - 4 Rotten Tomatoes ‘Tomatometer’ Score: 71/100 (based on 34 reviews counted at the time of going to press).

Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 69/100 ‘Want to See’ (based on 22,263 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).

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Soylent Green - 6 FAVOURITE QUOTES:
[first lines]
Voice over PA: First stage removal. First stage removal. Streets prohibited to non-permits in one hour. Streets prohibited to non-permits in one hour.

Det. Thorn: I know, Sol, you've told me a hundred times before. People were better, the world was better...
Sol: Ah, people were always lousy... But there was a world, once.
[Thorn chuckles]
Sol: I was there, I can prove it! When I was a kid, you could buy meat anywhere! Eggs they had, real butter! Not this... crap!

[Shirl tells Thorn that she's getting a new tenant]
Det. Thorn: He'll like you. You're a helluva piece of furniture.
Shirl: Don't talk to me like that. Please.
Det. Thorn: OK.

Sol: [through the audio system] I've lived too long!... I love you, Thorn.
Det. Thorn: [tearfully] I love you, Sol.

Soylent Green - 7 LINKS:
(Note: All were working at the time of going to press)