Movie Review: The Omega Man

Andrew Stephens, Monday the 12th of April, 2010 in Films, Science Fiction

A man made plague has swept the Earth This post was automatically imported from my old sandfly.net.nz blog. It may look a little weird since it was not originally written for this format.. The small minority not killed outright are driven insane and rendered allergic to sunlight, forcing them to band together into a quasi-religious gang called The Family who hate the old civilisation that made them what they are. Only one man remains unchanged, a doctor who is immune to the contagion.

For the two years since the fall of civilisation the man has been under siege from the others, foraging in the city for supplies during the day while fending off The Family's attacks by night. Things change when he meets some other unchanged survivors. Might it be possible to rebuild humanity?

A thick slice of early seventies ultra-cheese, The Omega Man is a good example of a film that is more than the sum of its parts. Charlton Heston is exceedingly well cast as a half insane loner who arms himself with automatic rifles against a world he doesn't fit into, but he shows his limits when the script asks him to laugh a carefree lover's laugh once he finally meets some other people. The Family are all suitably creepy, particularly Matthias, their leader, although they seem a little inconsistent in their belief system.

The film is well put together and has some very effective scenes of Heston wandering through an empty city. The incidental music is all elevator-lite pseudofunk which only adds to the sense of a world gone terribly wrong. Of course, it wouldn't be a Charlton Heston movie without a little over-the-top religious symbolism laid on with a trowel, but this is kept to a minimum until the last ten minutes (at which point it really kicks into high gear with a groan-inducing lack of subtlety).

Recommended if you like this sort of thing. IMDB