THX 1138 (1970)

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In a Big Brother style future society where the population are controlled through sedation and a robotic police force, two of its inhabitants decide to rebel and leave their clinical, oppressive environment.

Based on a student project Lucas made himself some years earlier, THX 1138 is one of those “concept” sci-fi’s from the 1970’s and shares ideas with the likes of Logan’s Run and Planet of The Apes; in fact, it has been very influential in itself over the years. The idea of a subdued, barcoded and identical populace has since passed into cliche, but this film was one of the first to explore the idea and stylistically it’s still marvellous. Lucas shows a great eye for composition and the production design of the robots and vehicles in particular still looks very nice, as does Lucas’ clever choices of location. Unfortunately what is missing is any real sense of narrative momentum and emotional involvement; the plot is essentially just a long chase sequence with little explanation as to where the protagonists are going and why.

Still worth seeing for some excellent visuals and sound design but there is a very real sense of “Is that it?” when you reach the rather unsatisfying conclusion.

6/10

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