Soylent Green - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Soylent Green Reviews

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Super Reviewer
½ November 6, 2015
The greenish cinematography and '70s visuals for a futurist dystopia look terribly dated today, and even if the film has an interesting idea and a beautiful death scene, Fleischer's direction (focused more on the procedural and the action) makes it look silly and unimaginative.
garyX
Super Reviewer
½ May 17, 2007
In a near future where the world is vastly over-populated and nature's resources have become decimated, a cop investigating the murder of a rich executive uncovers his globe-spanning uber-corporation's dirty little secret. Soylent Green is clearly a victim of its own reputation as its almost inevitable that you will already know how it ends, which removes the shocking revelation that would have provided the punchline to the story. As it stands, the film is surprisingly accurate in its predictions and is one of the first corporate conspiracy theory stories to reach the big screen; it is also one of the first to marry the styles of Film Noir and science fiction. The problems lie in its rather dated and cheap looking visual effects and rather workmanlike, TV quality direction. I would also have to say that with the exception of Edward G. Robinson's ageing bookworm, none of the cast are particularly likeable; Heston comes across as a selfish and corrupt asshole and women in this future society are nothing more than "furniture" - essentially live-in prostitutes. Worth a watch if you are one of the few who haven't absorbed the big plot twist through cultural osmosis but otherwise it's little more than a dated curiosity.
DragonEyeMorrison
Super Reviewer
½ February 3, 2008
No idea why this movie gets so much bad reviews these days, sure, it's the "future" with people wearing 70s haircuts and clothes, big fucking surprise. The message is blunt, but still effective, and while the detective parts of the story don't go anywhere seeing the characters enjoying such mundane things that we take as granted today are fascinating to watch. Enjoy your apples, steaks and alcohol, you might not see them in the future.
Super Reviewer
½ May 7, 2011
A dark and disturbing look at a future that may surface, though hopefully not in the next 11 years as the film suggests. Heston is a police officer in an overcrowded world. Food is but a luxury as people are fed Soylent products. There's a wonderful scene in which Heston steals a number of items from the home of a murder victim. They are common everyday things, but the film creates such an emotional intensity about them, Robinson breaks down into tears at the thought of meat. Taylor-Young plays one of the most tragic love interests in cinematic history. She's referred to as "furniture" as she comes with the apartment, a choice of living for many attractive women, as they get to live with the wealthy and experience rare items. Looking through time, this is something that rings true on a terrifying scale. Like many of Heston's pieces, it mixes B-Movie charm with social commentary. Many will know the twist, as did I, but when the final line of dialog rings out it really shocks.
Keiko A. --Samurai--
Super Reviewer
May 6, 2011
Directed by Richard Fleischer and Starring Charlton Heston, Leigh Taylor-Young, Joseph Cotten, Brock Peters and Paula Kelly.

I was one of the very few people who had never really ever heard of the ending before...And how shocked it left people. But is Soylent Green all too true? I mean is this type of scenario going to be happening by 2022? I mean Overpopulation...War...Pollution...Devastation of the world's eco-system...Etc?
But the way our way of life is at the moment I am not really all that shocked if Soylent Green was some type of film sending us a message about the extreme dangers of Over-Population and too be fair I am not surprised if the ending was to come real.

Robert Thorn is a detective living in New York City in 2022 with the city's population at over 40,000 million people with a boss of a major production company has been murder with him on the case, but he might have just entered what is the biggest human conspiracy in the future.

Again I had never heard of the ending before and when I found out I could not stop saying WTF.

84% for Story: Very well told and very well put together this Sci-fi/Disaster movie and the mystery elements are awesome despite some of the films short comings.

96% for Acting: I think this is the films biggest strong point, and one of Charlton Heston's best performances by far and really the whole film is full of great and brilliant acting...Minus our lead female who was just annoying near the end.

90% for Special Effects: The films visuals show a major bleak and dark society that one cannot simply explain.

85% for everything else: Some impressive shots showing the set construction made to look like a futuristic NYC.

Though it's a pretty solid Mystery film and it will be one that might likely never be forgotten for a long (Even more the ending).

Keiko's score 87-100
Super Reviewer
September 5, 2010
A fantastic post-apocalyptic sci-fi horror movie, I love it! I highly recommend this movie, even if you know the ending.
Super Reviewer
July 14, 2010
Had I seen this movie when it was released, it might ave had the effect it has on so many people. Sadly, it's the worst kept ending in movie history. I really love the look of the movie, it's beautifully shot and looks pretty believable for a 70s look into the future. However, i'm not the biggest Charlton Heston fan so seeing him go crazy isn't exactly something I look forward to. It's an interesting enough premise to hold your attention, but I don't feel it's an essential part of Sci-Fi history.
cancercapricorn2002
Super Reviewer
½ May 6, 2010
It is the year 2022 and nothing has changed even if things have gotten worse. New York City has become even more overpopulated and is just yet another city heaving in its own filth with countless "have-nots" fighting over sparse resources. Energy supplies are low, water is strictly controlled, living spaces are small and cramped and "real" food is a luxury reserved for the very rich. The masses do not have such luxuries and eat rationed supplies of high-nutrient processed foods from the Soylent Corporation. Detective Thorn is a "have-not" and just like everyone else is out to get what he can for himself and friend Sol Roth. Called to a burglary that became a murder, Thorn learns that the victim is a director at Soylent and suspects that all the curious thing about the crimes may be coming together to be far more than the work of some random thug.

Famous for its "shock" ending (which everyone must know and most people will guess) this film is actually more than just one scene and is actually an intelligent sci-fi detective story that has an engaging central story and a generally interesting vision of the future that is much more convincing than the one of Hollywood blockbusters and such. The investigation is solid but it is the world it happens within that is most interesting as we see a world where, surprise surprise, the poor people are left to make do while those better off can still enjoy the finer things while they remain. It is not an earth shattering view of the future but it is a convincing one and I enjoyed being in this story and seeing this world played out. Personally I bought it but it may help that I mistrust corporations anyway and believe that the poor will be the first to get shafted when anything bad happens, simply because they have less to work with.

The narrative is not the strongest though and in terms of it being a detective story it could have been better. Some viewers have complained about the lack of action, which I think is a pretty unfair accusation since it wasn't trying to be that type of film. The main characters are interesting. Thorn is a man of authority but he is just like everyone else, out to get what he can and takes advantage of others the first chance he gets. His relationship with Roth is not fully explained but it worked anyway and provided a touch of humanity. It helps that both actors did good jobs of it as well. Heston normally plays the gruff hero but here at least he allows the corruption within man's heart to come out. Robinson has less of a character but his performance is assured and is touching for reasons internal and external to the film. Support is not so good but it is less important in the smaller roles; Cotton is a nice find though.

Overall this is a famous film that is good but not without its faults. The narrative is reasonably interesting and carries the film all the way to a nice (but too well-known) conclusion but it is in the general vision of the future of a world where the people are struggling to get by with resources running low. A smart sci-fi that is well worth seeing.
LorenzoVonMatterhorn
Super Reviewer
December 23, 2009
"Next thing they'll be breeding us like cattle for food. You've gotta tell them. You've gotta tell them!"

In an overpopulated futuristic Earth, a New York police detective finds himself marked for murder by government agents when he gets too close to a bizarre state secret involving the origins of a revolutionary and needed new foodstuff.

REVIEW
"Soylent Green" is one of the best and most disturbing science fiction movies of the 70's and still very persuasive even by today's standards. Although flawed and a little dated, the apocalyptic touch and the environmental premise (typical for that time) still feel very unsettling and thought-provoking. This film's quality-level surpasses the majority of contemporary sci-fi flicks because of its strong cast and some intense sequences that I personally consider classic. The New York of 2022 is a depressing place to be alive, with over-population, unemployment, an unhealthy climate and the total scarcity of every vital food product. The only form of food available is synthetic and distributed by the Soylent company. Charlton Heston (in a great shape) plays a cop investigating the murder of one of Soylent's most eminent executives and he stumbles upon scandals and dark secrets. The script is a little over-sentimental at times and the climax doesn't really come as a big surprise, still the atmosphere is very tense and uncanny. The riot-sequence is truly grueling and easily one of the most macabre moments in 70's cinema. Edward G. Robinson is ultimately impressive in his last role and there's a great (but too modest) supportive role for Joseph Cotten. This is Science-Fiction in my book: a nightmarish and inevitable fade for humanity! No fancy space-ships with hairy monsters attacking our planet.
Super Reviewer
November 14, 2006
Sol: There was a world, once, you punk.
Det. Thorn: Yes, so you keep telling me.
Sol: I was there. I can prove it.
Det. Thorn: I know, I know. When you were young, people were better.
Sol: Aw, nuts. People were always rotten. But the world 'was' beautiful.

This is a pretty neat sci-fi story from the 70s, with some ironic ideas of how the future is supposed to be as well as a twist that is so good that its a shame that most people will know it before seeing this movie.

My three favorite bad asses made these 60s and 70s movies involving action, sci-fi, or crime. They were Lee Marvin, Steve McQueen and Charlton Heston. Here we have Heston starring as Thorn, a detective in New York 2022, investigating a murder case.

The future is overcrowded, facing impossible odds due to greenhouse gases affecting most of the atmosphere, making the environment much warmer, limiting the use of fresh produce and other luxuries.

Thorn lives among these "poorer" people, but has to investigate the rich guys. He lives in an apartment in the slums with his old friend Sol, played very well by the awesome Edward G. Robinson in his last role, where he was literally dying while making this movie.

As Thorn makes his way through the case, evidence leads to a shocking discover that provides the ending climactic and famous lines.

I was surprised how much I liked this movie. I was very involved with the story, and finding a lot of elements involving the "future" ironic, as well as enjoying Heston bad assing his way around New York.

Cool 70s sci-fi flick.

Det. Thorn: He'll like you. You're a helluva piece of furniture.
Shirl: Don't talk to me like that. Please.
Det. Thorn: OK.
Super Reviewer
½ November 29, 2007
I haven't seen this movie in 20+ years, but it is a great movie -- one of the few you would remember in 20 years. I'd watch it again if it ever came on TV.
Super Reviewer
½ November 9, 2006
One of those cautionary sci-fi tales from the 70s that's turning out to be true. Silly fun--especially the suicide machine.
Jason Vargo
Super Reviewer
February 26, 2011
I feel like this is half a movie. Approximately half of the "romance" subplot is on screen. Approximately half of the important backstory is on the screen. Approximately half of the investigation is on the screen. All of these little pieces don't form a tight narrative. Rather, the script meanders and Heston overacts the dickens out of the role of Thorn. There's no real sense of urgency or importance here, no explanation about the way things work in this new universe. It's hard to get emotionally invested in characters or a story that don't have any heart of their own.
Super Reviewer
½ June 11, 2007
All the talk they have about global warming...if you want to know the effects of all the warnings we have been getting...this is the movie to see...It's a classic sci-fi flick with a very young Charleston Heston in the starring role. Edwward G. Robinson was inthis one...(I've finally seen a movie with Edward G. Robinson in it! ) It's not abad pic!
Super Reviewer
June 18, 2011
Let me start of the bat by saying that "Soylent Green" is certainly a film of it's time and obviously is way out of date by today's standards. This being said, the film is also still quite relevant in today's world and the uncertain future mankind faces as a race together. The film's secret is known to most, even if you haven't watched it, but I will not state it here in case. "Soylent Green" is one of the later films featuring the legendary Charlton Heston in one of his lesser roles, but Heston still gives a good performance as a detective in the future New York City in 2022. The over population of the planet has caused massive food shortages and many people literally lay on the streets, steps of apartment buildings and anywhere else they can. It's a terrifying and realistic portrayal of mankind when our resources begin to run out and alternative methods of food creation are employed. Just yesterday in the news I was reading about the first synthetic meats being created and maybe appearing as soon as a year from now. If you are looking for a disturbing and maybe all too realistic science fiction film, look past the age of the film and give "Soylent Green" a watch.
Super Reviewer
June 29, 2006
Mildly enjoyable, but everybody already knows the twist ending. So what's the point? The whole movie is a build-up to that twist at the end.
Super Reviewer
June 22, 2007
Despite dated effects, perhaps bears equal or greater relevance today.
Super Reviewer
March 13, 2006
Some good ideas and good scenes, but on a whole this did not age well. Maybe it would have been better if I didn't know 'the twist' but I doubt it.
Super Reviewer
November 7, 2007
I thought the movie was just average, although the cast promised to delvier a good movie. Joseph Cotton has just a brief appereance and you can see the late Edward G. Robinson in his last appereance. He was dying of cancer, which makes it rather unpleasant to witness his "death" scene in this movie I must say. Did you know that Charlton Heston was really crying during the shoot?Well, back to the point. The movie is a standard dystopia - a greedy capitalistic industry being the devil's seed polluting the earth while a lonesome flatfoot tries to save it. A classic future-western i'd say. Heston's performance is wooden, but that was his acting-style alright. The supporting cast is weak, expect the two legendary actors mentioned above of course. But without a profilic villain, the good vs. evil plot just did not carry. The movie lacks some of the visual and score genius some similar movies of the around that time possessed (e.g. Blade Runner, Silent Running etc.)It's funny though how most movies that are set in the future can be traced back to the century they were produced. In this picture for example, the aparments, clothes and the music is in-your-face 70ish. It's not easy to make a futuristic movie that does not look totally retro after ten years, but it's possible (Alien, Tron, Blade Runner, Star Wars)Another strange thing that I noticed, is that all the women in the movie are referred to as furniture and live in apartments pleasing the tennants ? Is that some kind of utopian male sex fantasy of the author (the book's author I mean). If anyone knows something about this, please explain.All in All the movie is average and nothing too fancy.
John2223
Super Reviewer
½ March 10, 2008
Even though I knew the ending of the movie I found it to be a very interesting dystopian film that manages to articulate the threat of an environment disaster due to the global warming and the notions that surround it from over-crowding to food shortages.
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