THX 1138 Review
THX 1138 is a science fiction film directed by George Lucas and starring Robert Duvall. It is a visually great film with a great premise, but is executed rather poorly.
It is set in a dystopian future where humans are controlled by android police officers and the use of drugs that suppress emotion and sexual desire is mandatory as sexual intercourse is prohibited. First of all, this premise is really fantastic and so visionary and such a great take on futuristic science fiction. It is a smart and cautionary viewing of the future. However, that premise is executed in a very weak manner which is so frustrating as it could have been a masterpiece. But, the pacing is so slow and the plot is very weak and problematic and never using its premise to the fullest extent.
The characters are also quite weak. THX 1138 is a solid protagonist for whom you root for. But he is still a flawed and quite weakly developed character. LUH 3417 is more of the same, but she is more likable than the protagonist. But the rest are just so forgettable and not even worth talking about. I get that in this kind of sci-fi film, character development isn’t mandatory, but at least some characterization should be required.
The acting is good. Robert Duvall is really good in his role and Maggie McOmie is also surprisingly good and the relationship between their two characters is the highlight. The directing is also okay, but not that great. And the pacing is too slow and never particularly engaging.
THX 1138 is visually a splendid feature and that is its biggest strength along with its premise. The imagery is so memorable and wonderfully realized and it is realistic and relevant in its approach and vision of the future. It is also serious and dark, but still too boring to be enjoyed more. The originality factor is definitely present as it is one of the more authentic sci-fi flicks of the decade and it is even ahead of its time in some areas. I liked the attention to detail and its world-building, but in recreating this sterile and cold world, the movie unfortunately becomes like that itself with no emotion or warmth anywhere to be found. I wished for more emotional connection and character work. And the movie, although smart, is never as clever as it should have been and its themes are never fully realized and the message is never stated. The emphasis on sex is also typical for its decade and it should have gone more into love and real relationship and emotion than just sex. And I also disliked its tendency to go into blockbuster territory in the final act, but I did enjoy its ending as it is so well realized. This is a solid debut for George Lucas and it is a unique and interesting experience, but it is such a lost potential as it could have been infinitely better due to its fascinating subject matter.