Year: 1974

Production: John Boorman Productions / 20th Century-Fox

Director: John Boorman

Starring: Sean Connery, Charlotte Rampling, Sara Kestelman, John Alderton

Screenwriter: John Boorman

Novelization (1974) by John Boorman and Bill Stair

105 minutes; Color

A future society is divided into 2 regions: the Vortex and the Outlands, separated by an impenetrable force field. Within the Vortex live the Eternals, immortal and given to a decadent aestheticism, while in the Outlands dwell the Brutals, including a group called the Exterminators whose job is to keep the population level down. One of these Exterminators, Zed (Connery), infiltrates the Vortex and his presence catalyses events which destroy both the Immortals and their computer-run society. Zed represents the primal force that brings back to the impotent, static Immortals such old favorites as Emotion, Sex, Fear and Death, releasing them from their artificial world and allowing them to become part of the Nature Scheme of Things again; that is, dead. The film is self-indulgent; its profundity is all on the surface and its oscillation between parody and solemnity is distracting. But Boorman's presentation of old ideas as if they were just new-minted has a certain silly charm, and the film has considerable visual brio, assisted by Geoffrey Unsworth's photography and the beautiful Irish settings.

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