The somewhat plausible and proximate horrors in the story of Soylent Green carry the production over its awkward spots to the status of a good futuristic exploitation film.
The year is 2022, the setting NY City, where millions of over-populated residents exist in a smog-insulated police state, where the authorities wear strange-looking foreign uniforms (not the gray flannel suits which is more likely the case), and where real food is a luxury item. Charlton Heston is a detective assigned to the assassination murder of industrialist Joseph Cotten, who has discovered the shocking fact that the Soylent Corp, of which he is a director, is no longer capable of making synthetic food from the dying sea. The substitute – the reconstituted bodies of the dead.
The character Heston plays is pivotal, since he is supposed to be the prototype average man of the future who really swallows whole the social system. Edward G. Robinson, his investigative aide, reminisces about the old days – green fields, flowers, natural food, etc. But the script bungles seriously by confining Heston’s outrage to the secret of Soylent Green.