An imperfect yet must-see film for any serious genre fan. Part Kafka's 'The Trial', part Orwellian future, ROLLERBALL is the perfect mix of social commentary and genre fun.
A quick note: This film expires from Instant Netflix on 2/1/12, but is available on DVD.
If you've seen John McTiernan's abysmal remake, get ready for the real thing. James Caan stars as Jonathan E, a veteran Rollerball player who is suddenly manipulated into retiring early. The world is controlled by a single corporation, with Rollerball being the sport of choice amongst the population. The film exceeds in giving us just enough details about what this future-world is like without delving into moments of detailed exposition. It's shown and hinted at but never fully described, which gives the audience a feeling of what it must be like to live under such a totalitarian regime. You're simply left in the dark.
E stumbles onto a larger plot that involves the true meaning of the sport itself and what his role in it truly is. It's dark and ends with even darker connotations. But it's not perfect. Act II drags and at least 20 minutes could have been cut. But even with a slow middle, the film regains it's momentum and the third act is a violent, brutal ordeal that brings it all back home. A truly great ending that is very representative of what makes the 1970's THE decade of great film.