WHAT DOES BIG BROTHER WANT?  Not much — total control of all human behavior, including thought, emotions and sexual response.

WHAT DOES THE REBEL WANT?  The rebellion starts, as rebellions will, with sex.  That was Winston Smith’s problem and it’s THX’s problem too.  He’s willing to risk it all — the steady job at the police-robot factory, the mood-enhancing meds, the beige, block-like food, the holographic porn, the masturbation machine, for the embrace of a good woman.

WHAT DOES THE REBEL GET?  He gets thrown in prison.  At least I think it’s prison.  It doesn’t act much like a prison.  Things are kind of left open-ended in this movie, even prison.  In any case, with the help of a hologram come-to-life (shades of Agent Smith) he escapes.

IS THERE AN UPPER CLASS, AND DO THEY HAVE ANY FUN?  It doesn’t seem like there’s anyone in charge at all, just a series of interlocking bureaucracies that just kind of muddle through each crisis as it comes along.

DOES THE SOCIETY CHANGE AS A RESULT OF THE REBELS ACTIONS?  No.  In fact, as it develops, it is this society’s inability to bend its rules even a little bit that allows THX to finally escape.

This is the Futuristic Dystopia boiled down to its barest bones.  The narrative is kept at ground level — well, the sub-basement level, actually.  Observational/behavioral in the extreme.  There is no explanation of why this society is the way it is, or why THX’s mate is unhappy, or how a hologram  comes to life, or how THX escapes from prison.  The rebel doesn’t want to change things or seize control of the state or bring down Big Brother, he just wants to get the hell out of there (and even then it takes him more than half the movie to come to that decision). 

It’s almost as though this is a prison-break movie made for the entertainment of the citizens in the city in the movie.  In fact, it would have been a cool ending to have the last image, then have that flicker off and see that, all along, we were watching a movie being watched by a beige-block-munching pair of folks in their white suits, and the male turns to the female and says “That was nice” and the female says “Yes, a good fantasy” and they turn off the light and go to sleep.

Another cool ending would have THX climbing up to the surface,opening a hatch and finding himself on the surface of the Death Star.  Or in the middle of the street in Modesto in 1962 as Paul LeMat races with Harrison Ford.

Or in the middle of a 19th-century village that turns out to actually be a 21st-century village — where everyone who lives there is actually a ghost. 
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The Futuristic Dystopia

Everything is perfect in the future.  Everyone is happy, everything works.  The authorities have everything all figured out.  Nothing can possibly go wrong.

Or can it?

Half-brother to the End Of The World movie, the Futuristic Dystopia movie tends to follow certain perameters.

It’s hard to be a leader in a Futuristic Dystopia.  There are always Rebels who suddenly see the society for what it is.  Once these malcontents have had their realization, they must either fight or flee, or both.

Things aren’t so good for the rebels, of course.  Everyone’s after them, and chases tend to ensue.  Often they must have their heads put in uncomfortable apparatuses.

As one can see from the above examples, the Nixon era was a good time for Futuristic Dystopias (Brazil and the unpictured Blade Runner dating from the close-cousin Reagan era).  Sensors indicate that the genre is due for a revival (Minority Report being a good example of this).

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