George Lucas directs Robert Duvall, Maggie McOmie and Donald Pleasance in this dystopian sci-fi drama where a human drone goes off his emotion suppressing meds’ and begins to feel love / yearn for freedom.
As a mood piece THX 1138 is unrivalled. It is a chillingly and convincingly, vertically intergrated vision of a hellish future where all human emotion is suppressed to make the people subservient components to a singularity. It is oppressive and avante garde. As confusing and nightmarish and believable as such a scenario should be. Where the film loses its edge is when it enters into thriller territory. The chases are bog standard. Only the final ironic punchline which ends the pursuit seems to fit the cold terror we witnessed in the first hour. Lucas’ creation has far more power when we are lost in a white abyss, or fighting through a crush of unsympathetic commuters, or watching a terrifying robot overseer escort a toddler back to their cell. Whether any viewer would want to repeat a visit to such a visceral experience is up for debate though.