Thursday, September 1, 2011

THX 1138 (1971)

Lucas' Stylish Feature Film Debut

- These days, the name "George Lucas" is synonymous with "Star Wars" and "Big Money," but not really "bizarre independent films." However, Lucas' first major film, THX 1138 in 1971, is just that - and it is a good Sci-Fi film as well.

Set in an unspecified time and place in the future, society is run in an intensely strict way. Every street and corridor is patrolled by mechanical policeman; sex is a crime; one state-sanctioned religion is rammed down every throat; and everyone is required to take a mind numbing, feeling suppressing, but productivity enhancing medication - and a failure to do so warrants a penalty of imprisonment or death. THX 1138 (Robert Duvall) is a worker drone living in this society, but he stops taking his meds and feels the shock of his suppressed humanity. He falls in love with his female roommate LUH and looks for a way to escape the only world he has ever known.

Lucas really puts together an interesting film here with THX 1138. With some big help from the art-direction team, THX 1138 has a very creative film world. Every set is actually pretty simple, but they are also is attention-grabbing and creates a setting that is both alien and relatable to today's viewers. The film also has fantastic picture with nice editing, excellent lighting and great shots that are interestingly framed - one wonders why Lucas was unable to achieve the same visual style in his much more successful Star War franchise. The performances found in the film are great as well; headlined by a captivating Robert Duvall as THX 1138.

While having a short running time, THX 1138 is also really show moving and one has to be in the right mood to watch it. When all is said and done, George Lucas starts off his Sci-Fi film career in a good an interesting way with this unusual film.

CBC Rating: 7/10

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