Feb 13, 2009

elbow to asshole

I watched Soylent Green last week. I'd seen most of it in bits and pieces, but never sat down to view the whole thing. I'm a fan of 70s-style-dystopian-futuristic aesthetic, so the look of the whole thing really won me over. I mean, no, the present does not look like they thought it would - unless you're the Polyphonic Spree - but baad guesses are often more fun than accurate forecasts.

Watching Heston carefully pick his way up and down staircases to avoid trampling on the people sleeping there was a simple but brilliant way to show just how crowded we'd become. One of those little film moments I love - understated, makes the point, doesn't whack you over the head.

The other detail I really dug was the "furniture". I mean, it's a miserable concept, but that's the kind of thing I like from dystopias like this. Sexual slavery and housekeeping all rolled into one, but the world is shitty enough to make that an attractive job.

My major complaint about SG? Heston! He was terrible! I have seldom seen such a good, well known movie with such a badly cast main actor. It was like watching a guy doing a community production of the movie somehow being inserted into the film itself. All that clenching and hamming.

Anyway, I wish I'd seen it on the big screen when it came out, not after a lifetime of hearing parodies of and references to the script and the twist. But I'm glad I finally saw it at all.


Anonymous said...

Heston's an icon in those films; he's the chiseled all-man superhero without any special powers. he's the hearkening-back-to-a-better-day type of man; he's the voiceless-expression/one-liner type of man. He's the Keanu Reeves of the previous generation, so yes, he's a terrible actor but he fits those films so well.
Dystopia is most frightening when the dumb and beautiful have to become the heroes.

downtown guy said...

I'm not buying it. He doesn't come across as a dumb asshole thrown into circumstances and left to deal with them. He comes across as a dumb actor thrown into a role he's wrong for. Keanu Reeves is a good example - aside from Parenthood and the Bill and Ted movies, I've never seen him in anything he didn't ruin.

Anonymous said...

I think we're agreeing; they're both terrible actors. Heston's over-acting is a significant part of what makes those films classics; Keanu is going to do the same for The Matrix unfortunately.

JRSM said...

You're so on the money. I remember when Heston died, all the articles were along the lines of sure he was a right-wing nutjob, but at least he was a good actor. But then you see him act, and it's painfully bad.

downtown guy said...

I do think he had his roles. This was just not at all one of them. At times it was like he was doing a Schwarzenegger impression.