Tony Mastroianni Review Collection

Drugs, computers "Star" in bleak movie of future

Cleveland Press May 6, 1971

Life in the future is a matter of shaven heads and unhappy looks. You are in trouble if you do not take drugs since give us this day our daily sedation seems to be the primary commandment.

This bleak, depressing but visually interesting look forward is contained in the movie "THX 1138." It is a world where people have numbers instead of names, a world run by computers.

THE PICTURE is by newcomer George Lucas who has put together some interesting sounds and images which are generally more interesting than his script.

This is an underground world which he imagines and backgrounds are stark white. Everyone wears a white, prison-like uniform regardless of sex and the white-on-white effect mixed with odd electronic sounds creates a truly different setting.

Forlorn figures go through their daily tasks directed by unseen voices. Trouble is quelled by metal-faced robots in familiar police uniforms.

What little story there is concerns Robert Duvall and his mate Maggie McOmie who ease off drugs, discover sex and pregnancy and try to escape to the outside world.

EVEN IN SUCH a world, there are individuals. Donald Pleasance is the conniving individual who tries to get Duvall's roommate and who breaks rules because he claims to have a way with computers.

For all of its advanced looks, "THX 1138," is really a rather old-fashioned science fiction melodrama. It goes a little further in its Orwellian outlook however. The horror of "THX 1138" is that the people in it are no longer capable of understanding how bad off they are. They are little more than robots themselves.

So much for drugs and computers.