THX 1138 [1971]

George Lucas's enigmatic feature film debut expands on a student film he made at USC. Created under the wing of producer Francis Ford Coppola, this movie is a bleak vision of a world in which technology, not man, is the ultimate dictator. Efficiency overrides every other aspect of human life, as people are reduced to code names and their lives are contained, monitored, and manipulated for the sake of the system. Featuring unsettling performances by Robert Duvall, Donald Pleasance, and Maggie McOmie, THX 1138 does not attempt to explain how things became this way; rather, it utilizes the alienation of its characters, the stifling white-on-white imagery of its sterilized society, and the claustrophobic, droning sound design to emphasize the dangers of a world reliant on soulless technology. Even though this is not a film one will want to take in repeatedly, THX 1138 merits attention because it is that rare film that uses images and sounds--rather than relying heavily on dialogue--to communicate its dark prophecy. --Bryan Reesman

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