HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Seance
Green Knight, The
Beasts of No Nation
One of Our Aircraft is Missing
Picture Stories
Another Round
Tape, The
Limbo
Supernova
Man Who Sold His Skin, The
Sweetheart
No Man of God
Gaia
Oliver Sacks: His Own Life
Scenes with Beans
Sweat
Quiet Place Part II, A
Nobody
Prisoners of the Ghostland
Duel to the Death
Mandibles
Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands
Yakuza Princess
Djinn, The
New Order
Triggered
Claw
Original Cast Album: Company
Martyrs Lane
Paper Tigers, The
Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It, The
Hall
ParaPod: A Very British Ghost Hunt, The
Collini Case, The
Hitman's Wife's Bodyguard
Snake Girl and the Silver-Haired Witch, The
Superhost
Plan A
When I'm a Moth
Tigers Are Not Afraid
   
 
Newest Articles
On the Right Track: Best of British Transport Films Vol. 2
The Guns of Nutty Joan: Johnny Guitar on Blu-ray
Intercourse Between Two Worlds: Twin Peaks Fire Walk with Me/The Missing Pieces on Blu-ray
Enjoy the Silents: Early Universal Vol. 1 on Blu-ray
Masterful: The Servant on Blu-ray
70s Sitcom Dads: Bless This House and Father Dear Father on Blu-ray
Going Under: Deep Cover on Blu-ray
Child's Play: Children's Film Foundation Bumper Box Vol. 3 on DVD
Poetry and Motion: Great Noises That Fill the Air on DVD
Too Much to Bear: Prophecy on Blu-ray
Truth Kills: Blow Out on Blu-ray
A Monument to All the Bullshit in the World: 1970s Disaster Movies
Take Care with Peanuts: Interview with Melissa Menta (SVP of Marketing)
Silent is Golden: Futtocks End... and Other Short Stories on Blu-ray
Winner on Losers: West 11 on Blu-ray
Freewheelin' - Bob Dylan: Odds and Ends on Digital
Never Sleep: The Night of the Hunter on Blu-ray
Sherlock vs Ripper: Murder by Decree on Blu-ray
That Ol' Black Magic: Encounter of the Spooky Kind on Blu-ray
She's Evil! She's Brilliant! Basic Instinct on Blu-ray
Hong Kong Dreamin': World of Wong Kar Wai on Blu-ray
Buckle Your Swash: The Devil-Ship Pirates on Blu-ray
Way of the Exploding Fist: One Armed Boxer on Blu-ray
A Lot of Growing Up to Do: Fast Times at Ridgemont High on Blu-ray
Oh My Godard: Masculin Feminin on Blu-ray
   
 
  Rollerball If British Gas ruled the world...
Year: 1975
Director: Norman Jewison
Stars: James Caan, John Houseman, Maud Adams, John Beck, Moses Gunn, Pamela Hensley, Barbara Trentham, John Normington, Shane Rimmer, Richard LeParmentier, Robert Ito, Ralph Richardson
Genre: Drama, Science FictionBuy from Amazon
Rating:  8 (from 2 votes)
Review: It’s the near future and corporations with executives rule the world rather than governments. The individual is suppressed in favour of serving companies and globalisation. A violent sport called ‘Rollerball’ has been created to satisfy people’s bloodlust. It involves two teams on rollerskates in full American Football gear, plus three motorcyclists per team, which the skaters can use for tows. They go around a smallish, indoor, banked, circular track and a steel ball is fired from a cannon at the top of the track. You must grab the ball, keep it in full view and attempt to score a goal by chucking it into your opposing team’s receptacle. There are a few rules which are gradually eliminated during the course of the film. The teams corporation anthems are played before each game. The anthems are all played on a pipe organ and all sound the same.

Jonathan E (James Caan) is Houston’s star player. The Houston team is sponsored by the Energy Corporation headed by Mr Bartholomew (John Houseman). Jonathan is a rising star, too rising it seems. Those who are at the top are paid with luxuries, favours and privileges plus drugs, but there are to be no idols. Jonathan is surprised to hear that his retirement is to be announced and doesn’t understand the reasons. He refuses to play along and steps are taken behind his back.

He is to announce his retirement on prime-time tv, but walks out. Bartholomew implores then threatens Jonathan if he continues to play. The next game against Tokyo has limited substitution and no penalties. Death is not uncommon in Rollerball and this game is particularly rough. Jonathan’s team-mate Moonpie (John Beck) - another rising star, is attacked and left brain dead. Jonathan refuses to sign documents to have the body taken off life support.

In the meantime, he has been trying to find out more about corporations and who makes the decisions and why. An understanding of privilege is that no questions are asked of the decisions made by executives. He has to travel to a computer centre in Geneva where books are being summarised (censored). He meets a Librarian (Ralph Richardson – in full thespian, scene stealing mode) who isn’t much help. The computer won’t play ball either (the usual ‘cannot compute!’). This is a pointless part of the film and could have been taken out.

Jonathan changes wife as often as his hat. This isn’t his fault, the corporation sends them along to his ranch whenever he’s out. He misses his first wife who is duly despatched back to, in effect, offer herself if he’ll quit. He doesn’t. The final game against New York approaches. There are no substitutions, penalties or time limits. The winner will be whoever is left alive to score.

The entire world is watching. The team are in sombre mood. Everyone chants for Jonathan as he comes onto the track, except the New York fans who want him dead. The game starts. People begin to die. Being simply knocked down is quite fatal it seems. Eventually Jonathan and two New York players are left. One is murdered in front of Bartholomew. The second is given mercy. Jonathan slowly takes off his helmet, goes to the NY goal and scores – the only point in the game. He slowly skates around the track. The audience begin to gradually chant ‘Jonathan, Jonathan…’ until this is all that is left to hear.

Rollerball is one of a number of 70’s science fiction films that pushed us into considering the politics of the future. Intelligently written, superbly cast and filmed. The director of photography is the legendary Douglas Slocombe. Norman Jewison was inspired by Stanley Kubrick’s Clockwork Orange, apparently. The music is totally classical. Modern buildings form an important part of the futuristic look and many of those featured, including the Rollerball track, were filmed in Munich. The Energy Corporation and one of the public buildings are part of the BMW headquarters. Designer furniture and multi-screen TVs form much of the interiors. Caan is excellent and doesn't over-play. Houseman is the master stroke.

The game action itself, is genuinely exciting. There was talk of actually starting it as a serious game, which horrified Jewison. As far as violence goes, the film depicts it without gratuity. There are some great moments, such as an executive party that descends into shooting pine trees with a gun that has napalm style bullets. Don’t accept any substitutes for the real game. Music by Bach, Albinoni, Shostakovich, Tchaikovsky and Andre Previn.
Reviewer: Simon Aronsson

 

This review has been viewed 3738 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
Jason Cook
Enoch Sneed
Andrew Pragasam
  Desbris M
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt
   

 

Last Updated: