In the dystopian future, New York City’s streets are crowded, pollution makes it hot and hard to breath and the human race is largely classless-unless you are filthy rich, you live in squalor. All of the planet’s natural resources have been depleted and the only thing left to eat are the highly processed nutrition bars called ‘Soylent’-red, yellow and the highly sought after plankton based green. Soylent bars are rationed and riots break out regularly when supplies are low. ‘Real’ food is so precious that strawberry jam goes for $150 a bottle and fresh beef is so rare that most doubt it’s existence.
Enter our protagonist, Detective Thorn. An aging Charleton Heston totally SCORED this role! His hairy ’70’s fit’ dad-bod is drenched in gross sweat the entire film. One has to wonder if the make-up department was like, “fuck it-the script says ‘oppressive heat due to global warming-take the deodorant out of Chuck’s dressing room-this shit is about to get real”. Ugh. He looked smelly. He also looked pretty happy about it…
Murder abounds in the city. What else are the unwashed masses to do with their time? A rich big-wig lawyer by the name of Simonson ends up with a tire iron to the back of the head in his posh digs and Thorn’s on the case. He, of marginal integrity, takes full advantage of his good fortune and fills a silk pillow case with various and sundry luxury items such as soap (USE it for the love of all that is good and holy!), 2 apples, wilted lettuce, one piece of flaccid celery, real bourbon and BEEF as he completes his investigation.
Simonson has a swank apartment, but his ‘furniture’ is stunning. ‘Furniture’ is a not so subtle term of endearment for ‘whore that comes with the apartment’. Thorn first meets Shirl while he is looting and marveling at the A/C provided to the upper-class. Shirl is contractually obligated to be a companion to whomever rents the apartment. Times being what they are, it’s a good job if you can get it and Shirl is happy for the privilege. She’s a gorgeous play-thing and the resemblance to Lana del Rey was uncanny. Do I smell a non-sweaty, perfumed love interest? Thorn does. Ewwww. Shirl and Tab, the body guard confess that they were the last two to see Simonson alive. Yes, the dude is called Tab.
Thorn heads home sensing something is awry, but not really caring-he has a silky pillow case full of treasures. He lives with a loveable, pants-up-under-boobs old curmudgeon called Sol. Sol serves as the record keeper for the PD, unofficially it seems. Thorn also scored some books for Sol as a gift-classified ‘Soylent Oceanographic Survey’. These eventually lead Sol to the conclusion that Simonson was in deep with the high powered governor and on the board at Soylent. Hmmmm, Thorn cries foul and he tells his fabulously ‘fro’d lieutenant that it was an assassination. He suspects the body guard. Tab. Snort. Oh, damn-guess he’ll have to go pay Shirl a visit again. You know, to be thorough…
In the meantime, the body guard gets wise to Thorn’s suspicion and kills a priest that may have info on Simonson-he had given a troubled confession just days before his death. The governor also gets wise and orders the investigation to be closed. No dice! Thorn is on the case! Well, actually, he’s boning Shirl and not about to give that up anytime soon. The governor tries to have Thorn assassinated. The attempt fails, but for a shot to the ankle. Shirl, who is mystifyingly head over heels for the old, pit-stained detective-coos over his wounds. Gak. Oh, excuse me…
Gag reflex aside, on with the story-Sol, with the help of ‘the Exchange’, a group of fellow researchers, discovers that the world’s barren oceans couldn’t possibly be producing enough plankton to support production of Soylent Green and they deduce that it must be made from human remains. That’s right-SOYLENT GREEN IS PEOPLE! Poor Sol can’t handle the truth and he elects to go ‘home’. ‘Home’ is a government clinic that provides assisted suicide.
Thorn tries to stop Sol, but makes it just in time to hear the secret and enjoy the visceral and quite pleasant end stages of the euthanasia process. Sol is treated to a montage of music and visuals of extinct forests, rivers, oceans and wildlife. It’s lovely, really.
Distraught, Thorn vows to prove Sol’s theory. He follows his body to the garbage trucks that are supposed to take the bodies to a disposal center. He hitches a ride all stealth like to a plant that is CLEARLY converting people in to tasty green crackers. Over-acting ensues as Thorn attempts to contact the precinct to make his report that-say it with me now-SOYLENT GREEN IS PEOPLE!
Tab, remember Tab? The body guard? Well, he is still pursuing Thorn to silence him. There is a kerfluffle in one of the cities homeless shelters and Thorn manages to kill Tab first but he sustains some gun shot wounds himself. The iconic bloody hand clenched in despair is the last we see of Thorn as he’s being taken out of the shelter to treat his wounds. Spread the word folks in case Thorn didn’t make it-SOYLENT GREEN IS PEOPLE!