THX 1138 (George Lucas, 1971)
Set in the 25th century, the story centers around a man and a woman who rebel against their rigidly controlled society.
In the 1970's, the films about the future and the Science Fiction features were according to project a dystopian vision of what mankind will be. In George Lucas lecture of the things to come, a pure white virginal world of machines and programmed events puts Robert Duvall as THX in a near George Orwellian world of greater power and crushed human conditions.
Being the follow up to Lucas' student film, THX 1138 was produced by his friend Francis Ford Coppola and became a sandbox for him to experiment for his game changing Star Wars movie that became the multi billion dollar franchise that it is today. Watched as a precursor of Lucas' talent and so-called vision, THX could be a nice little first film for any director. However, it is shadowed by the aforementioned Star Wars films. While keeping in mind that it is a first film, the story is well handled even if a little conventional for the genre but it is the visual mastery and the storytelling approach of few dialogues and a lot of space for the nothingness of the sets and the claustrophobic society depicted. The use of Techniscope gives and sense of depth and its large framing could only be appreciated in theaters until HD televisions were introduced in everyone's homes.
The presence of Donald Pleasance might be the most interesting of the interpretations in this particular movie. His relationship with Duvall's character is unhealthy at best. Pleasance is disturbing and uses all the screen time he has to be the most interesting character of the movie. It is about alienation and every character seems to bring its own in this unappealing world.
All in all, this is a short movie of under 90 minutes that gives a little something to the fans of the early films that had the spirit that Lucas wrote and directed. It also lost with the passage of time since many films of the same era are now considered as Sci-Fi classics for example: 2001: A Space Odyssey might overshadow any Sci-Fi film to ever be released.