Movies have always been a wonderful outlet for exploring the future and looking at what society might be like decades from now. There have been so many movies looking at our world (and others) in the future, and posing what they might be like. Sure, many look at the utopian aspects of the future, but there are just as many looking at dystopian futures, where the world is a cruel, unkind place, and technology has often become abundant in a negative way. Check out these six awesome flicks all about a dystopian future for mankind.
Blade Runner (1982)
Cult sci-fi masterpiece Blade Runner is one of the ultimate movies to look at when exploring a dystopian future. The dark, rain-drenched neon streets of Los Angeles, 2019, is the setting for our story, following cop Rick Deckard, and his mission to eliminate cyborgs known as replicants. Ridley Scott’s neo-noir classic paints a pretty grim picture of the future, but it’s also one that’s utterly compelling – and not so far away from reality. The film’s thematic complexity and stunning visuals have made it a firm favorite with sci-fi junkies everywhere.
Children of Men (2006)
Children of Men was a remarkable release in 2006, falling slightly under the radar, and, around a decade later still has an important message. The movie is set in a dystopian England, where years of infertility has led mankind to the brink of extinction. A jaded civil servant must help a pregnant refugee find sanctuary. Children of Men is one of the best sci-fi films you’ve never seen, and is subtle in its use of technology, but the dystopian themes are there for all to see. It’s a dark, atmospheric, and unflinching look at what the future could hold years from now.
Paul Verhoeven’s violent crime-drama shows how the world could look in a broken, lawless future, where even the police aren’t safe. Peter Weller, as the titular Robocop, is an officer murdered at the start of the film, who is turned into the crime-fighting cyborg. A brutal, bleak, cyberpunk flick, which, beneath the ultra-violence, has something very important to say. If you’ve never seen Robocop, ignore the remake, and check out the original – it’s not for the squeamish though!
Taking a leaf from the Robocop handbook, the Dredd remake was a sleeper-hit in 2012, and a much better movie than any of us was expecting. If you filter Robocop through Die Hard, you get this dark, dirty, gritty futuristic action flick, with Karl Urban excellent in the lead role. Dredd takes place on Cursed Earth, a dystopian wasteland version of Earth, and Mega-City One, based on New York, is the seedy, violent city in which our film opens. The movie underperformed at the box office, but sold well in the home video market, and has since become a cult classic. Hopefully, we’ll see a second one released soon.
Mad Max (1979)
One of the original dystopian movies was 1979’s road movie, Mad Max. The Australian flick that launched Mel Gibson’s career is a different kettle of fish to the other films on this list, because it’s a desert dystopia, as opposed to a city one. But, the themes of crime, corruption, harsh conditions and vengeful drifters is here in spades. You might be more familiar with the recent Mad Max: Fury Road, but, to get a proper feel for that dystopian world, you need to go back to the very start, and check out the original.
Films exploring dystopian futures give us an important glimpse into the worst possible future we could head toward. They are important because many of them contain themes and issues relevant in today’s world, and they are a great way of exploring complex issues on a deeper level. The movies mentioned above are some of the best movies made about dystopian futures, and we could learn something from all of them.