Christmas. As if you needed reminding about it when there are adverts branding your living room with things you don’t want, differently-shaped chocolates sold in stores for thrice the price, and lifeless trees forced to decay indoors. We’re here to remind you that it is possible to meander the madness with a little madness of our own, as we bring you day nine on our Anti-Advent Calendar…
In a dystopian future, the year is 2022. The vast majority of those unlucky enough to be alive are haunted by scarcity, poverty, pollution, overpopulation, unemployment and a measureless wealth disparity, but dystopia for some can be utopian for others.
Survival is ensured by the Soylent Corporation, as they provide the people with only a high-protein product named Soylent Green. During a murder investigation, New York detective Thorn (Charlton Heston) is thrown into a conspiracy involving the corporation, and in the process uncovers details that some would rather leave buried than exposed.
Soylent Green is noteworthy for its high levels of verisimilitude. The most frightening aspect of its dystopia is its plausibility. Environmental devastation, overpopulation and uncontrollable mass production are constantly lingering laments in today’s reality, and this 1973 picture captures an authentic actualisation of what things could potentially one day look like in our “developed” world.
Implementing a blend of investigative procedural and science fictional elements, the film is successful in portraying fears of urbanity and the attempts to overcome them. Charles Braverman’s creation of the film’s opening title sequence (see video below) is a delightful arrangement of archived images depicting the slow transition of development into decadence, from the end of the American frontier to the fictional 21st Century setting.
Worthwhile as environmental commentary, enjoyable as a mystery narrative, and withstanding for its dramatic tension and relationships, particularly between Thorn and Sol (Edward G. Robinson), Soylent Green is advisable viewing if you’re in the mood for interlude this holiday season.