Disclaimer: Contains spoilers!
Plot Summary: Centuries after a past calamity, humanity lives in a futuristic, domed city where you can only live until the age of 30.
Review: With the rise of dystopian fiction for young adults, you'd think this film would gain more recognition. Maybe it's the whole '70s vibe that holds it back for modern audiences? Regardless, this is classic sci-fi at its finest that typically takes a backseat to things like "Star Wars" or "Blade Runner." Sure, this film has a few technical flaws, occasional pacing issues, and an abruptly stupid ending, but the imaginative story is fantastic. This isn't necessarily an accurate depiction of a possible future, but it serves as an interesting "what if" plot line. If anything, this allows the film to delve into a more visionary direction since they are free of trying to tie things to any era.
So what is going on in this future? While we never learn what destroyed most of humanity, what's left of the people live inside a giant, domed city. Here, the population is protected from the outside world and, seemingly, controlled by automated machines that lurk behind the scenes to maintain day-to-day functions. As for the people, they live a life I would describe as orderly hedonism. You can fuck whoever, take drugs, play video games, eat whatever, get surgery on a whim, etc., but there are certain rules that must be followed. Honestly, this is probably the kind of future most humans would desire. Did I mention everyone looks like movie stars except for one poor, unfortunate extra? I might also add I think this movie invented the first hookup app--something they refer to as "the circuit." Oh goodness gracious. As with any dreamy future, there is always a catch. Besides the fact that humanity has been reduced to shallow and idiotic drones, you are only allowed to enjoy this pampered life until you are 30. After that, you must "renew" in a process they call "carousel." Apparently the people have been brainwashed into believing some kind of reincarnation awaits them after year 30 or something; this aspect could have used further exploration and clarity. If you try to violate this rule, you must answer to the Sandmen, a police-like force that kills anyone resisting renewal; they call these people runners. With all things considered, I like this setup, and the film tries hard to present this strange world in an easy to understand format.
As for the meat of the story, it involves the titular Logan, a Sandman, played somewhat nervously by Michael York, who has been tasked to infiltrate a group of runners that have successfully escaped over the years. They simply refer to this group as Sanctuary. Logan is assisted by his love interest, Jessica, played by the super sexy Jenny Agutter, who has connections to these runners and trusts Logan. Oh man, Ms. Agutter...those eyes...that voice...that killer body...wow! I'm sorry, where was I? Oh right...Logan and Jessica fight their way through the city, to the outside, and eventually find what's left of Washington, DC. There are few bad and good points along the way. Logan never reveals to Jessica that he was initially just using her which felt like a plot line that needed addressing. Of course he does fall for her, but she always assumed it falsely. They also do not handle Logan's Sandman friend, Francis, properly. He kind of magically tracks them down and dies without character resolution. On the other hand, I love their reactions to nature and trying to survive without someone to care for them. Likewise, the reaction to seeing an actual old person was amusing. By the end, Logan and Jessica try to make the people of their city realize the truth about aging and the outside world but are captured. Somehow the central computer that controls everything blows up upon realizing that Sanctuary wasn't real. I don't know! It felt like they gave up or something. The movie simply ends with humanity escaping the confines of the city, but would that truly be the end of the story? I'm 100% confident humans would miss the security and confines of the city. But, hey, Hollywood endings.
This pic hardly does her justice.
Overall, this is one of those movies you hear about, probably through pop culture references, and you never end up watching it. I'd highly recommend you change that. While it's not as life-changing as "Star Wars" or as stylistically beautiful as "Blade Runner," this film more than makes up for it with raw creativity and an intriguing story. The cinematography, set designs, and effects were also pretty good for the era. There are undeniable flaws throughout, like failing to emphasize the elite nature of the Sandmen, but none are detrimental with the exception of the ending; I'll admit, that could hurt the film's overall impression to a viewer. If you can overlook the obviously '70s-inspired coating to everything, and appreciate the story being told, you should be pleasantly entertained.
Notable Moment: When Logan and Jessica pass through that sex shop or whatever. What...in...the...hell? A slow motion orgy, with everyone implied to be on drugs, accompanied by trippy camera work and psychedelic colors? Surrre, why not?
Final Rating: 7.5/10