In the year 2022, the greenhouse effect has poisoned the Earth. The world is grossly overpopulated and there are practically no natural food sources left. Vendors in the street markets sell Soylent Red and Soylent yellow (made from soybeans), but the Government controls and hands out rations of Soylent Green on Tuesdays. Supposedly made from high-energy plankton, Soylent Green is often in short supply for the high demand. People stand in food lines all day waiting for water and processed foodstuffs. Real food is unheard of.
Detective Robert Thorn (Charlton Heston) lives in a tiny, seedy apartment with his "book", Sol Roth (Edward G. Robinson). A "book" is like an assistant, picking and assigning cases and performing research. To reach the streets, he must step over the dozens of homeless bodies camped out on the stairs of the apartment. Sol assigns Thorn the homicide case of William R. Simonson (Joseph Cotton). Simonson lives in a posh apartment complex complete with "furniture", which includes a woman. His "furniture's" name is Shirl. Shirl and Simonson's bodyguard Tab Fielding (Chuck Conners) were out shopping when the murder occurred inside the apartment. (Check out Shirl's "new" video game)
The murder is a puzzle to Thorn, who believes Simonson wasn't just murdered but assassinated. He steals two books from Simonson and has Sol research them. (He also steals real food, booze, soap, a towel, paper, and pencils - items not available to the general public) When Thorn finds out Simonson was the director of Soylent and friend to Governor Santini, his chief attempts to pull him off the case and close it. But there's too much mystery surrounding the murder, and Thorn refuses to give up until he solves the puzzle of Simonson and the secrets of Soylent.
I loved this movie in the 70's and still love it today. Even though 'Soylent Green' was made in 1973, it's a rare movie that has aged well, and holds up it's integrity even today in 2008. It's sort of a 70's version of cyberpunk. There's pathetic poverty, dry empty landscapes, unbearable heat, long food lines, processing plants of heavy machine complexes, the loss of personal identity, and hollow, garbage-strewn city streets and alleys. Even the soundtrack aged well, and was quite futuristic in 1973. 'Soylent Green' has always been a favorite of mine, and if you've managed to go this long without seeing it, then it's time to pick up your copy and treat yourself. Those fans like me will want to pick up the DVD to add to your collection. Definitely worth a purchase! Enjoy!