Films where society is unfairly governed, where civilisation has somehow taken a turn for the bleak and infinitely depressing. Rebellion and revolution are necessary, good must fight evil and the underdog struggles to right the wrongs of the world. Or the characters spin in an infinitely miserable cycle of despair.
Title: Blade Runner
Director: Ridley Scott
Stars: Harrison Ford, Rutger Hauer
What it’s all about: In a cyberpunk film noir setting, Deckard has to hunt down 4 replicants searching for their maker. Based on Philip K. Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?
Children of Men Director:
Alfronso Cuaron Year:
Clive Owen, Julianne Moore What it’s all about:
In a world where all the women have been made infertile, a former activists strives to protect a miraculously pregnant young lady.
Title: Logan’s Run
Stars: Michael York, Jenny Agutter
What it’s all about: An idyllic future, an apparent utopia, where everyone ascends to the Carosel when they reach 30. Except Logan, who doesn’t want to die and goes on the run. Based on the book by Ray Bradbury.
Kurt Wimmer Year:
Christian Bale, Taye Diggs What it’s all about:
In a fascist future reminiscent of 1984, clerics are charged with stopping people who demonstrate emotions. One man, trained to protect the regime, decides he doesn’t like it so much any more.
Director: Michael Radford
Stars: John Hurt, Richard Burton
What it’s all about: Classic adaptation of Orwell’s novel about a totalitarian society and a single man who tries to rebel.
The Hunger Games Director:
Gary Ross Year:
Jennifer Lawrence, Stanley Tucci What it’s all about:
Katniss Everdeen takes her sister’s place in a televised game of death designed to keep the workers of the Disctricts in line. Blockbuster adaptation of the novel.
Title: Aeon Flux
Director: Karyn Kusama
Stars: Charlize Theron, Frances McDormand
What it’s all about: Four centuries after an apocalyptic virus, an assassin fights to overthrow the oppressive Goodchild regime, but uncovers conspiracies along the way. A glossy adaptation of a madder MTV animation from the early 90s.
Marc Caro, Jean-Pierre Jeunet Year:
Dominque Pinon, Marie-Laure Dougnac What it’s all about:
A group of eccentric survivors coinhabit a surreal apartment building, in a post-apocalypse where food is a commodity and cannibalism is more than likely.
Title: Soylent Green
Director: Richard Fleischer
Stars: Charlton Heston, Edward G. Robinson
What it’s all about: In an overpopulated future, a detective finds himself in trouble when he starts uncovering a state secret linked to a series of murders.
Death Race 2000 Director:
Paul Bartel Year:
David Carradine, Sylvester Stallone What it’s all about:
Contestants race and fight across a dystopian America, in a game of death where points are scored for death and destruction caused. A cult classic, which has spawned some weak modern homages.
Title: Battle Royale
Director: Kinji Fukasaku
Stars: Tatsuya Fujiwara, Aki Maeda
What it’s all about: The Japanese government, relenting the troubled youth of the future, pit groups of school students against each other in a tournament where only one can survive. Based on the novel.
Mad Max Director:
George Miller Year:
Mel Gibson, Joanne Samuel What it’s all about:
Before the apocalypse of its iconic sequels, Max was a cop facing off against an increasingly barbaric society, terrorised by a local biker gang.
Director: Terry Gilliam
Stars: Jonathan Pryce, Robert de Niro
What it’s all about: In a totalitarian future with overabundant technology, Sam Lowry makes a clerical error that puts him in contact with a ring of terrorists.
Pete Travis Year:
Karl Urban, Olivia Thirlby, Lena Headey What it’s all about:
In a future city so violent that the police have capital authority, two judges are trapped in an enormous housing complex under siege from drug dealers.
Title: The Island
Director: Michael Bay
Stars: Ewan McGregor, Scarlett Johansson
What it’s all about: Living in a perfect utopian soceity, a man and his female friend discover they are being housed there for a sinister purpose, and seeks to escape.
The Matrix Director:
Andy and Lana Wachowski Year:
Keanu Reeves, Laurance Fishburne, Carrie-Anne Moss What it’s all about:
A modern action classic, a hacker discovers that all human life is an illusion propogated by machines. Shame about the sequels.
Director: Fritz Lang
Stars: Brigitte Helm, Alfred Abel
What it’s all about: Classes are divided in a futuristic city, where a city planner’s son falls in love and revolution looms. A classic silent movie, later remade into a 2001 anime.
Minority Report Director:
Steven Speilberg Year:
Tom Cruise, Colin Farrell What it’s all about:
Police use predictions to arrest people for uncommitted crimes, but their justice is brought into question when one of their own becomes a suspect. Based on a Philip K. Dick short story.
Title: The Running Man
Director: Paul Michael Glaser
Stars: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Maria Conchita Alonso
What it’s all about: In a grim future, a framed man is sent for public execution in a widely popular reality TV show where the contestants are hunted to the death.
Total Recall Director:
Paul Verhoeven Year:
Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sharon Stone What it’s all about:
A man going on a virtual vacation uncovers memories of Mars, and inadvertantly ends up involved in a revolution. Based on a Philip K. Dick story, We Can Remember For You Wholesale
Title: V for Vendetta
Director: James McTeigue
Stars: Hugo Weaving, Natalie Portman
What it’s all about: In a totalitarian society, ‘V’ rages a guerilla terrorist campaign against the creativity-hating oppressors, and is joined by a girl he rescues. Based on the graphic novel by Alan Moore.
Neill Blomkamp Year:
Matt Damon, Jodie Foster What it’s all about:
The wealthy have abandoned a ruined Earth to live on a fancy space station. The poor live in the ruins. A guy called Max wants to change all that.