Genre: Sci-Fi & Fantasy
Runtime: 1 hr 28 min
MPAA Rating: R
Director: George Lucas
Starring: Robert Duvall, Donald Pleasence, Don Pedro Colley, Maggie McOmie, Ian Wolfe, Sid Haig
A bold and politically subversive masterpiece.
Review by: MiamiMovieCritic
Added: 7 years ago
Six years before Star Wars, George Lucas made this uncompromisingly bleak picture, the first of the six films he would ultimately direct. THX-1138 is the most complete: an experimental science-fiction spectacle.
THX is set in a dystopian future where the Department of Biological Flow keeps the citizenry heavily medicated. THX 1138 (Robert Duvall) and LUH 3417 (Maggie McOmie) are humans selected by a computer to be roommates. They develop feelings for each other that threaten the system. THX is charged with “drug evasion” and “malicious sexual perversion” and put away in a formless prison of endless white light, where he meets with SEN 5241 (Donald Pleasance) and plans his escape. Pleasance’s humorous and anarchical performance as SEN may have inspired Brad Pitt’s Oscar-nominated turn in 12 Monkeys.
The remastered version of THX-1138 shows Lucas as one of our most gifted visual storytellers. The escalators and parking garages in this movie are super-cool. And the climax, when robot police hunt down THX on motorcycles, is perhaps the most brilliantly edited chase sequence ever.
Lucas went on to direct mainstream popcorn entertainments like American Graffiti and Star Wars. He abandoned the cynicism and chilly satire of this first feature. Here, the Dark Side wins, and machines tell consumers to “Buy, buy more now, and be happy!” THX is a bold and politically subversive masterpiece.