In 2022, Earth is overpopulated and totally polluted; the natural resources have been exhausted and the nourishment of the population is provided by Soylent Industries, a company that makes a food consisting of plankton from the oceans. In New York City, when Soylent’s member of the board William R. Simonson is murdered apparently by a burglar at the Chelsea Towers West where he lives, efficient Detective Thorn is assigned to investigate the case with his partner Solomon “Sol” Roth. Thorn comes to the fancy apartment and meets Simonson’s bodyguard Tab Fielding and the “furniture” (woman that is rented together with the flat) Shirl and the detective concludes that the executive was not victim of burglary but executed. Further, he finds that the Governor Santini and other powerful men want to disrupt and end Thorn’s investigation. But Thorn continues his work and discovers a bizarre and disturbing secret of the ingredient used to manufacture Soylent Green.
a true classic
I saw this movie shortly after it first came out – when I was a kid. The scene that sticks with me to this day is when the scoops come to break up the riot. The cop says, “The supply of Soylent Green has been exhausted. The scoops are on the way.” Then the front-end loader trucks come and scoop the people up like so much garbage. The fact that 2022 looks like 1973 is entirely plausible because society has gone retrograde. Charlton Heston’s performance is beautifully nuanced and believable. Edward G. Robinson is unforgettable as Sol. References to this movie pop up in shows like “The Simpsons” and “Millennium” for the simple reason that it is a visionary look at the future with real heart – a true classic.
Far deeper and intelligent than what first meets the eye
The film begins with a murder and a subsequent investigation headed by Charlton Heston. This is set in the near future and the head of the huge international Soylent Corporation has been assassinated. As the film unfolds, you quickly realize this is a terrible and highly inequitable future American society. The rich live in gorgeous apartments with security and all the pleasures money can buy(including “furniture”–a euphemism for paid mistresses that come along with the apartment). At the same time, the masses are dirt poor, unemployed and in many cases living in abandoned cars or apartment hallways. Overpopulation and smog have taken a severe toll and the future looks awful indeed!
Why the rich man died and the awful truth he could not live with I really should NOT discuss–it could ruin the film for you. However, the film has a great plot and acting and is super-exciting to watch. Plus, it features Edward G. Robinson in his final screen performance as the crusty sidekick to Heston. Though not for the easily depressed or squeamish, this is a great sci-fi film that is allegorical and profound.