In a way I waited for about 30 years to see this movie and finally caught it on a local art house cinema. It was shown from a 16mm print. Even in the 80s when I was a kid and growing up with the movies this had a bit of a cult reputation. Very violent, so no one was allowed to see it so it became a bit of a curiosity. Later I just never ran across it, no video or dvd rental seemed to have it nor was it shown in TV. Later I have also built up a major affection for 70s sci-fi movies, especially those that have something to say, so I was pretty excited to see it.
So.. did it live up to the expectations I had built? Not really. The rollerball action scenes were amazing and I was very drawn into the movie early on. Very well made. But when the actual plot started to reveal, I kind of lost interest. The movie is about corporations ruling the globe and the corporations apparently don't like the fact that a rollerball player (James Caan) is starting to gain individual following and hero status over a "team effort". So they try to get him to retire and as he doesn't want to, they change the game rules to get him out of the game "natural way". James Caan's character starts to question the whole system and goes on to find answers and keeps playing.
It kind of sounds interesting, but it never really is. The motives - for everyone - are pretty vague. We don't see much of anything about the so called dystopian future, so it's difficult to put any actions into a proper context. Why don't the executives just ditch Caan, he gets to play as if no one really cares if he plays or not. The same when he goes to an "all knowing" computer to seek answers. He just walks in. But doesn't get any answers. The whole scene is pretty awkward.
The music is also somewhat overly dramatic many times with well known classical pieces like Albinoni adagio. They kind of work, but then again they don't quite fit every time.
There are good stuff too. The cinematography is amazing by Douglas Slocombe, one of my favorite cinematographers. There are very nicely directed scenes, very effective stuff. I'm not a huge action fan, but the rollerball scenes were very well done.
So definitely a mixed bag. I wouldn't rate this among the best dystopian future movies, but it's nevertheless an interesting catch. Maybe it would require another go to really get into it.
Action / Sci-Fi / Sport
Action / Sci-Fi / Sport
In a futuristic society where corporations have replaced countries, the violent game of Rollerball is used to control the populace by demonstrating the futility of individuality. However, one player, Jonathan E., rises to the top, fights for his personal freedom, and threatens the corporate control.
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May 20, 2014 at 06:47 AM