Actorul a murit la 84 de ani.

„Charlton Heston was seen by the world as larger than life. He was known for his chiseled jaw, broad shoulders and resonating voice, and, of course, for the roles he played,” Heston’s family said in a statement. „No one could ask for a fuller life than his. No man could have given more to his family, to his profession, and to his country.”

„I have a face that belongs in another century,” he often remarked.

Soylent Green, 1973 – Saturn Award for Best Science Fiction Film
dupa romanul „Make Room! Make Room!” de Harry Harrison.

In 2022, New York City is populated with 40 million people, half of whom are unemployed. The air is smoggy and sooty, and the sun bakes everything, everyday, at 90 degrees. Overpopulation and the destruction of the environment may have rendered human life cheap, but food–that is, real food–is quite expensive. A jar of real strawberry jam costs $150, if it’s available–supermarkets don’t exist anymore. The government now dispenses rations of food substances made by the Soylent corporation: Soylent Yellow, Soylent Red, and the newest product, Soylent Green.

But even these Soylent products are in short supply. Riot police are always dispatched when Soylent is distributed, because violence kicks in when the food runs out. Thorn (Heston) is a member of this modern, beleaguered police force, which pilfers every crime scene for the necessities of life. When Thorn is called in to investigate the death of a Soylent Corporation executive, his take is a treasure trove: a towel, a bar of soap, paper, and some real food–celery, a couple of apples, and half a pound of beef.

But what at first seems to Thorn a clumsy robbery soon seems a highly-managed assassination. But ironically, it is the death of Thorn’s aging friend, Sol (Robinson), one of the few who still remembered what food was, what plenty meant, that cracks the case and unmasks a conspiracy. It is only through Sol’s death that Thorn understands what the world has lost and what it has become…

Dystopia, euthanasia and all the rest

Soylent Green is a basic, cautionary tale of what could become of humanity physically and spiritually if it doesn’t nurture the planet that nurtures it. There is little in this film that has not been seen in its brethren: faceless, oppressive crowds; sheep mentality; the corrosion of the soul, of imagination, of collective memory. Quirkily enough, Soylent Green often succeeds despite its director, whose tendency is to overuse Charlton Heston to illustrate every nuance of this dystopia.

Ironically, the film’s most powerful moments do not belong to Heston, who makes a dubious, ambiguous hero. It is Robinson who lays claim to the most moving passages of the film. As Sol he speaks frequently throughout the film of what the planet was like, and he sounds like any old-timer of any generation. But in this bleak future, as one of the few who remembers, he is the film’s conscience and soul. When Sol finally succumbs to despair and relinquishes himself to a government euthanasia center, Thorn sees glimpses of the Earth’s lost legacy. In his world, the average person only sees blue skies and green forests via canned video during their last 20 minutes of life in a government euthanasia center.
Review by Tamara I. Hladik