*post may contain spoilers*
What an epiphany! It’s been a really long time since I ever caught anything as good as this on film. The artistic shooting, the whiteness of white, the sequences showing you numbers and computer commands vaguely or directly involved in the plot itself is just brilliant. Robert Duvall is far from one of my favourite actors, and I personally feel he should’ve retired a long time ago, but in this movie (made in 1971) and of course the Godfather, he plays his character with surprising talent.
The plot is set to a post-nuclear age in mankind’s history, living as part of the masses underground in a non-individual, capitalistic, uniform society where production is scaled so significantly higher than the meaning of its use. George Lucas may be one fat bugger, but he really made some good movie here. Recommended, along with Fleischer’ Soylent Green from 1973.
(IMDB site) (Trailers)
This movie, almost Disney-like, has the kind of perverse subplot that you could expect from a Stanley Kubrick project. Kubrick, however, died before getting to shoot it, and there can be no doubt that even though Spielberg may be brilliant, this film would probably have been better with Kubrick behind the wheels. Having that said, this film is actually pretty good. Yes, it does have an American happy ending that I didn’t care too much for, but the clash between the real world’s cynicism and this eight year old robo-boy is portrayed in a way that doesn’t make you go yuck.
This movie is perverse, it really is, but I think Kubrick could’ve pushed the limits a bit further which I think is necessary in a movie that raises moral issues from the very first scene of the film. Spielberg over-shadows it with the Americanized perspective that this kid has a good heart etc. etc., but I find it reasonable to support the Flesh Fair enthusiasts in the film whom demolish the robots since they grow in numbers and eventually will replace mankind itself, all the while seeing the predicament of this robot – that is as close to a boy as it gets – that should never have been allowed to be built.
So my final verdict would be that Spielberg had a good try, and whether Kubrick could’ve done it better as far as the underlying moral story goes, we will never know.
(IMDB site) (Trailers)