Soylent Green [1973]

Director: Richard Fleischer
Stars: Charlton Heston, Edward G. Robinson, Dick Van Patten, Chuck Connors, Joseph Cotten
Genre: Mystery, Sci-Fi, Thriller
Rating: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Runtime: 97 minutes

Charlton Heston seemed fond of starring in apocalyptic science-fiction films in the late 1960s and early '70s. There was Planet of the Apes, of course, and The Omega Man. But there was also 1973's Soylent Green, a strange detective film (based on Harry Harrison's Make Room! Make Room!) set in 2022 and starring Heston as a Manhattan cop trying to solve a murder in the overpopulated, overheated city. His roommate (a necessity in the overcrowded metropolis), played by Edward G. Robinson, tries telling him about a better time on Earth before there were no more resources or room left; but Heston doesn't care. Directed by Richard Fleischer (The Vikings), the film has a curious but largely successful mix of mystery and bleak futuristic vision, somewhat like Blade Runner but without the extraordinary art direction. This was Robinson's last film and he's easily the best thing about it; his final scene seems terribly appropriate in retrospect. Joseph Cotten makes an appearance as the man whose murder results in the revelation of a shocking secret. --Tom Keogh

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