I’d like to say first that somehow I didn’t know what Soylent Green was about before I watched it last night, and I won’t spoil it for anyone who doesn’t know and is considering watching it. It turns out it’s a bit horrible, really. It’s not really a horror film, but just a creepy sci-fi film, set in a densely overpopulated New York City of 2022, where supplies, including food such as fruit, vegetables and meat, are scarce, and space is something citizens must fight for.
Detective Thorn, who is thrown into a sinister plot involving the Soylent corporation after investigating a murder of a rich man working for the same company, does have some space in a small apartment, which he shares with Sol. Sol and Thorn’s relationship is clearly strong, and is built throughout the film, until emotional sequences take place; however, I wasn’t close to even welling up a little, as their relationship is not built in anywhere near the successful fashion Spot and Arlo’s is in the previously reviewed The Good Dinosaur, for example (bet you didn’t see that comparison coming!). Nonetheless, they are likable, and relatively, at least, relatable, in the horrible world they live in; as Charlton Heston does a good job as Thorn, who is the typical sort of cool, relaxed man with a slightly erratic style and an eye for heroism. But however a good job Heston does do as Thorn, he isn’t as great a hero as the likes of other classics such as Luke Skywalker and the brilliant Toby Neary (Close Encounters). Nevertheless, he is different, and in a very different film.
Soylent Green is dark, sinister and creepy; set in a world where there are too many people, and not enough supplies. Dark themes throughout and a general lack of hygiene shown, or respect of women, or people in general, and light, where all people seem to be slowly dying, develops the dark veil over the film, and the sinister feeling of general wrongness. It’s an intriguing film, with an interesting story – at points providing through simply morbid fascination – that keeps you watching, though I don’t think there is as interesting, or deep, a story as their could be, and it is at points predictable (which is odd, because usually I’m too stupid to predict anything!). Furthermore, though a clever world has been created, and the aforementioned sinister feeling works wonders, the film isn’t actually particularly enjoyable. First off, it’s too slow moving. It’s okay to have a film slow moving if things happen throughout to keep the interest going, and it’s also okay if every scene of the film builds to something, and has significance with the story. However, the film doesn’t provide much action, much excitement, or much anything like that. Sure, they got the sinister thing going, but not a lot else.
Indeed, Thorn is a good main character, and through him is told the strange story he is thrown into; moreover, Sol is likable, and a few side characters provide intrigue. But a lot of the acting is overblown, and some characters simply do not add anything to the film, other than a little to that sinister feeling. There is not enough character development on show with any of the wider cast, and there is also not enough development of the story through these characters, as they are just there to kind of say, “Hey, I’m here! Things are looking real weird, aren’t they.” But there isn’t all that much to really enjoy with this film. There’s barely even a soundtrack. I see why they used a silent score in some instances, but I think the film could have really benefited from some more looming bass, or some dramatic strings, just to spike the senses some more.
However much missed potential there is, though, the cinematography is spot on, and the sets are perfect; so the clever world created is portrayed in the best possible way. Nonetheless, Soylent Green is not a film I’d watch again in a hurry.
Although there is a clever world created in Soylent Green and a smart story with a successfully developed sinister, dark and creepy veil, all with spot on cinematography and sets; the film I watched isn’t particularly enjoyable or exciting. Yes, Heston does a good job as Detective Thorn, who is an apt vehicle for the narrative, but many other performances are overblown, and some characters simply don’t add anything to the film, other than small developments of the sinister feeling, which is one of the few things this film got totally right. It’s too slow moving, and there is not enough action, or a good use of music or sounds, which the film would have benefited from. Also, though there is a smart story at the heart of it, it is not used to its full potential and is regrettably a little predictable.
Far from a masterpiece, this creepy film is not one for the senses and isn’t one I’ll likely watch again.
So I give it: 65/100.