If there’s one thing genre fans can’t get enough of, it’s dystopian films, and Hollywood has been churning out a steady stream of disturbing depictions of a future gone awry for half a century and counting. Here are ten of the best.
10. Soylent Green
In this 1973 film, Charlton Heston plays a grizzled flatfoot in early 21st century New York, living in a society where overpopulation and pollution have led to severe food shortages. Soylent Green The film impressed audiences at the time, but the casual misogyny displayed by Heston’s character and the general poor understanding of the source material, not to mention the abrupt ending and strangely tension-free atmosphere, weaken the film’s rhetorical power. However, Edward G. Robinson’s strange but moving death scene, completed just a fortnight before his own death at the age of 79 in January 1973, is worth the price of admission – and the final scene delivers one of cinema’s greatest closing lines.
If audiences are still waiting for the definitive adaptation of George Orwell’s 1949 masterpiece, this is it 1984 Version is getting closer. John Hurt does an excellent job as Winston Smith, the everyman living in a totalitarian late 20th century Britain, where a never-ending war between three global power blocs and a system of total state surveillance terrifies its citizens. Suzanna Hamilton plays Winston’s girlfriend Julia well, while Richard Burton is fascinating in his final film role as Winston’s would-be savior O’Brien.
8th. The Handmaid’s Tale
Before Hulu’s acclaimed adaptation hit theaters, there was this 1990 film adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s spooky sci-fi novel. Natasha Richardson plays Offred, whose fertility is so valued in a future where the vast majority of the population has become infertile that she is expected to bear children for the wealthy elite. The film benefited from a star-studded cast, including Oscar winners Robert Duvall and Faye Dunaway, and received a mixed reception from critics.
Neill Blomkamp’s 2013 action film takes place in the 22nd centurynd Century on an Earth degraded by environmental degradation; The wealthy elites have fled to the luxurious orbital space station of the title. Matt Damon is in top form as Max, an ex-con who is given days to live unless he steals important information – in return he gets the medical treatment he needs to stay alive. As a meditation on social inequality, the film is powerful; Jodie Foster matches Damon point-for-point as the official responsible for keeping Elysium away from the crowd.
6. Water world
Bathroom film connoisseurs love it Water world for its perceived poverty, but don’t believe those who claim Kevin Costner’s 1995 epic is just watchable for laughs; in the confusion “Crazy Max On Water is a well-plotted adventure film that struggles to get out. Costner plays the Mariner, a loner living in a post-apocalyptic world where the Earth’s major land masses are completely flooded due to the melting of the ice caps. Jeanne Tripplehorn does an excellent job as Helen, the protector of Enola (Tina Majorino), a young girl with a tattoo that shows the way to the mythical “Dry Land.” Never less than worth seeing, Water world is really moving at times; Only the scene-eating antics of Dennis Hopper as the deacon were disappointing.
Ben Wheatley’s 2015 version of JG Ballard’s 1975 sci-fi novel plays as a period piece, but is no less dark. The novel, famously about the residents of a high-rise building who isolate themselves from the rest of the world and attack each other, was long considered a challenge for the big screen, but Wheatley, supported by a host of talent including Tom Hiddleston, pulls it off. Jeremy Irons and Sienna Miller.
4. I am Legend
In this adaptation of Richard Matheson’s 2007 novel, Will Smith plays Robert Neville, a virologist who survives a zombie apocalypse and eke out an existence in New York. He protects himself from attacks by the infected and hopes to meet other survivors, and eventually meets one (Alice Braga). While the film isn’t entirely faithful to the source material, it still wowed audiences and grossed over half a billion dollars at the box office. As of 2022, a sequel was in development.
3. Z For Zechariah
Based on the award-winning novel by Robert C. O’Brien, this 2015 indie stars Margot Robbie as a survivor of a nuclear apocalypse whose lonely existence on a remote farm is disrupted by two other survivors (Chiwetel Ejiofor and Chris Pine). . The drama was disappointing with mainstream audiences but found favor with critics, who praised the slow-burn tension and the cast’s impeccable performances.
2. Blade Runner: 2049
While Ridley Scott’s 1982 original contained at least a kernel of hopeful sentiment, Denis Villaneuve’s masterful sequel from 2017 has no such claims. Ryan Gosling stars as Police Officer K, who discovers a deeply disturbing truth about the lives of his fellow replicants – all against the backdrop of a California ravaged by catastrophic and frighteningly depicted climate change. Sylvia Hoeks and Mackenzie Davis provide excellent support, and Harrison Ford takes on the role of Deckard with rare enthusiasm.
1. children of men
Alfonso Cuarón’s 2006 thriller is deeply uncomfortable to watch. Clive Owen plays Theo, a jaded commuter living in a world where children can no longer be born and where his native Britain has turned into a totalitarian nightmare. Claire-Hope Ashitey is captivating as Kee, a young woman who has inexplicably become pregnant and must find her way to safety. Benefiting from brilliant cinematography, stunning filming and a touchingly elegiac performance from Michael Caine, Cuarón’s masterpiece has yet to be surpassed.