Director: Richard Fleischer
Writer: Stanley R Greenberg (Screenplay) Harry Harrison (Novel)
Starring: Charlton Heston, Leigh Taylor-Young, Chuck Connors, Joseph Cotton, Brock Peters, Paula Kelly
Plot: In the world ravaged by the greenhouse effect and overpopulation, an NYPD detective investigates the murder of a big company CEO.
There may be spoilers the rest of the review
Story: Soylent Green starts in the year 2022 where Soylent Red and Yellow have been the main food source for the over-populated New York City that has people sleeping in stairs, barely any space to move and huge unemployment. There is now a new product called Soylent Green from the deepest part of the ocean offering everything the human body needs for an affordable price.
When the rich socialite William Simonson (Cotten) is murdered, Detective Thorn (Heston) is assigned to solve the murder with the Furniture a woman that comes with the apartment named Shirl (Taylor-Young) being one of the main suspects, along with the bodyguard Tab Fielding (Connors).
As Thorn continues his investigation he learns that this murder seems to be more of an assassination and the deeper he digs the more shocking the truth is that he discovers.
Thoughts on Soylent Green
Characters/Performance – Detective Thorn is assigned to solve the murder of one of the richest men in New York City. He is poor but does just about have his own apartment, whenever he visits one of the high sociality people he takes the luxuries he doesn’t have, he won’t give up on solving the case however big the cover up he is taking on. Shirl is the ‘Furniture’ that lives in the apartment of the victim, she services the owners needs whenever the desire and come as part of the apartment, she becomes the love interest for Thorn. The rest of the characters are involved in what could be the cover-up, work with Thorn or know it is better to keep their mouths shut.
Performance wise, Charlton Heston is great in the leading role, we all know he was a dominating force for the time and this is no different. Leigh Taylor-Young is good as Shirl but mostly is just used for bit of eye candy. The rest of the cast are all good even if there are a couple of overacted fight sequences.
Story – The story focuses on the future where people have over-populated the world, food supplies run low and the rich still stay well above the poor. The social side of the film is brilliant seeing how the rich believe they can get away with anything to make sure they stay rich even stepping on the poor. The ending is one most people will know now but must be considered as one of the most shocking of the time as well as playing out as a warning to the ever-increasing number people living on the planet.
Crime/Mystery/Sci-Fi – The crime side of the film is the murder and potential cover up being exposed, this also plays into the mystery of the film. the sci-fi side of everything shows us just how bleak a potential future could become.
Settings – New York City is always known for the crowds of people, this film uses this as the setting to show us just how bad it could get it the population boom never slowed down.
Final Thoughts – The ending is what made this film so famous even today, you can see why too because this does have a shocking ending that will leave in shock even to this day.
Overall: One of the most shocking sci-fi films ever made.