Movie Review -Soylent Green

Soylent Green Movie Poster

“It’s the year 2022… People are still the same. They’ll do anything to get what they need. And they need SOYLENT GREEN.”

I love that tagline!

When I visited my environmentalist friends Don & Mylene, they gave me a copy of the 1973 movie Soylent Green. I mistakenly thought I heard “Silent Green”, which reminded me of the environmental book Silent Spring (1962). Wondering if “Soylent” was a popular name at the time or just something screenwriter Stanley R. Greenberg, or writer Harry Harrison (See Make Room! Make Room!), or director Richard Fleischer concocted… Well, I leave that up to my imagination.

Putting aside a few sexual and gender-biased references, and the leading lady and her friends acting as commodities in luxurious apartment-homes, (those of which I couldn’t see the point of besides the world becoming less personal, intimate and more about surviving, less about living), Soylent Green depicts a strong message of overpopulation. There is Soylent Green Day every Wednesday (or was it Tuesday?) and rations are given out to the people. They are grateful, but succumb to rioting when rations are low.

Environmentalists and city planners alike will agree on one thing. –That if population rises, environmental conditions decreases significantly. And Fleischer and the gang are one visionary lot when they portray New York police agent Thorn investing the murder of Simonson, who was a member of the board of directors of Soylent Green. Not going into details, a trail of suspects and clues (and a tail who tries to kill him) lead our leading man Thorn to Simonson’s lover Shirl (which of course turns her affection to Thorn). Towards the end of their hoo-ha and when Shirl informs Thorn that there will be a new tenant (she comes with the apartment), Thorn refers to her as “furniture”, and good for Shirl she stands up to him and says, “Don’t call me that” to which he complies politely. (Not that they’ll ever see each other again).

Sol & Thorn

Though I found much stereotyping between the leading man and lady, a character that adds depth and contrast would be the housemate and former professor Sol Roth who assists Thorn in solving cases, and in the end, turns to assisted suicide. Thorn who rushes to the government clinic to bid Sol good-bye, sees a beautiful array of motion pictures –green fields, animals grazing, fishes swimming near the ocean bed– before his demise. But Thorn doesn’t go home sulking and depressed. He follows Sol’s body that lead to hundreds of other corpses which are transported to a plant… And surprise, surprise, that’s how Soylent Green makes its food! The movie ends bitterly after Thorn (with a bullet through his chest –one which his assassinator hired by Soylent Green gave him) yelps out to his colleague, “Soylent Green is people!”

I wonder what I am left to after watching that, and I wonder more if someone could make a remake, or perhaps an even looser interpretation (with newer ideas and criticism) of the movie. Though the screenplay might depict the world of 2022 of over 40 million people (which sounds less worrying than the apocalypse of 2012, believe me, as world population is predicted to reach 7 billion by then!) with a different outlook and expression, it does not address other issues and questions that audiences of multi-interests and concerns might have. Perhaps Fleischer had a one idea, one message movie to portray, but environmentalists aren’t just environmentalists, many are social-activists and advocates of other causes. Either way, I applaud the Soylent Green director and producers for a movie worth the watch, either bringing an environmental or social message to viewers, or one which has brought in the attention and advance of popular culture.

Go to


One response to this post.

  1. i always look for a good movie review first before watching new movies *


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: