SOYLENT GREEN, Richard Fleischer (1973)
Why are we so scared about future? Why is it depicted so dark in films and literature? In which point Future started to be considered as something dreadful? Lately, as you may have noticed, I’m spending some time reviewing sci-fi movies, especially old ones, or at least away from the digital and super special effects era, and it’s shocking the way they all portrait society in the future, very pessimistic.
Right from the start, during the initial credits, Soylent Green is praising the past times, showing war as the seed for the current situation of a dehumanized society.
In 2022, New York actually has become a refugee camp. 40 million people live stuck up, deprived of basic human rights such as housing, running water and proper food, only affordable for the elite at huge rates. Moreover, the problem of greenhouse effect killing many people every single day. Soylent Green is the solution to face the shortage of essential supplies. These not very fancy looking green chunks provide proteins, calories and constituents enough for surviving, at a high cost, apparently manufactured with the oceans weed.
William R. Simonson, one of the most relevant members of the Soylent society is brutally killed. Evidence indicates a case of burglary, however detective Thorn (Charlton Heston) suspects the bodyguard and the attractive mistress living with the victim, Shirl (Leigh Taylor-Young), are linked to the murder and will start investigating. The more he will deepen into the case, the more stuff related to the Soylent Green origin will come out to the surface, an inconvenient truth society should not ever be aware of.
The story, based on the novel written by Harry Harrison, is absolutely fantastic, yet terrible. If you think of it (sorry, I’m not to spoil anything), we are so ignorant regarding so many things, if we knew the truth of many things, we wouldn’t be able to face reality. This reminds me of a 1984 sentence: Ignorance is Strength.
Dictatorship, elite and extreme poverty are constant features which define Future. Investigation and development , communication and technologies, do not contribute to a better world but just the opposite. The question is, if society tends to such status, why investing so much instead of trying to find a solution? OK, alternative sources to the current almost extinguished ones are one of the top priorities, but we all know that’s not enough. Economies are rotten, debt in many countries is a plague, so is the increasing unemployment rate (situation here in Spain is absolutely devastating).
I feel curious about when human being identified future as something negative, away from the many advances we’ve been witnessing. Were old models of societies better than nowadays? Let me doubt it.