Friday, May 26, 2017

Sol and Thorn eat a stew

SOYLENT GREEN (1973)


I believe in the power and virtue of optimism, but anyone who takes a good look around knows this mess we've wrought doesn't at all bode well for the future.  

In the meantime, persist we must—so let's eat.

And for dinner, one of the many fine Soylent concoctions, on a cracker.
“Eat something.”

“I'm not hungry enough yet.”



“It's not bad.”


“Tasteless, odorless crud.”   



In the year 2022, the population of New York City has exploded to over 40 million. Famine, mass unemployment, crime, disease, pollution, total despair—you name it, they've got it.  And since the disparity of wealth has continued to widen (while resources dwindled) throughout the ensuing years, the world has essentially split into 2 classes: the rich and the desperately impoverished.




A vast majority of those 40 million New Yorkers are sick and homeless, and have taken to living and sleeping wherever there's space—scurrying and trampling and cohabiting not unlike mice amid an infestation.



And then there's the matter of food, the lack of which has been causing riots.  As state-issued weekly rations of the popular new Soylent Green continue to shrink (and with food shortages widespread), staving off hunger is becoming exceedingly difficult, even to working men.  


“You don't know any better.”  


“You know, in my day, food was food...before our scientific magicians poisoned the water, polluted the soil, decimated plant and animal life.”



“I know, Sol, you told me before.”

Detective Thorn and Sol Roth, his old friend and partner/police analyst, share a tiny apartment—which is more than most have.

“How can anything survive in a climate like this? A heat wave all year long.”


During a homicide investigation (and the subsequent plundering of the wealthy victim's apartment), Thorn manages to get hold of a few items that will interest his old pal very much.  

In the future, stealing from the rich is not only accepted, it's expected.  At least in police work, it is.  Just so long as everyone gets their cut.

Detective Thorn's boss, Chief Hatcher (Brock Peters), wastes no time cutting to the chase.

“What did you take?”


“Everything I could lay my hands on.”



“What's for mother?”




The victim of a brutal bludgeoning, William Simonson (Joseph Cotten) was an important man—a very rich man, in fact, with a good many wondrous things.



And so when Thorn returns from work that night, it's like Christmas in July.


“You ever see a cake of soap that big?”




“What the hell...oh, my god.”




“Sol...”



“Hmmm?”


Beef?!”


“How did we come to this?”




“Come on, Sol, don't take it so big...look, we're doing okay.”



And later...


Thorn doesn't quite know what to make of Sol's shiny steel eating instruments, or the strange, crispy green leaf on his plate.


Did people actually eat this stuff?  Hatcher could be right—maybe the old man is cracking up. Where's the Soylent?


But hey, what's this?