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In the not too distant future, a very smoggy and overpopulated Earth government makes it illegal to have children for a generation. One couple, unsatisfied with their substitute robot baby, breaks the rules and gets in a lot of trouble. (Z.P.G. stands for Zero Population Growth.) Written by
Matt Carlin <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Films with a premise like "Z.P.G." are the most disturbing ones imaginable. This is the sort of science fiction concept that one day could actually become reality! Probably is a much less drastic format and fascist execution, but nevertheless the rudimentary principle of law-obtruded birth control is alarmingly plausible. In the distant future, when people standard have to wear oxygen masks to walk over the streets and visits museums to see what a 20th century domestic family diner looked like, the government suddenly decides that no couple is allowed anymore to produce any children for the next thirty years. This incentive is launched to put a stop to the destroying of the earth by overpopulation. The last legally born children are branded with a laser and all aspiring families are welcome to apply for a fully personalized child dummy. With removal from society as the harsh punishment for illegal pregnancy, the birth rate immediately drops back to Z(ero) P(opulation) G(rowth). However, museum actress Carol McNeil's biggest wish is to bear and raise a child. When she pursuits her will, her husband Russ the almighty Oliver Reed is forced to entrench his belly-developing wife in a hideout shelter and think up excuses for her continuous absence on the surface. But a severe crime like this can't be kept secret forever "Z.P.G." is a tremendously astonishing film. It's often compared with "Logan's Run" and "Soylent Green" but this movie predates the both of them and it's immensely underrated whereas the others are more likely overrated. This is the type of absorbing Sci-Fi that gradually becomes more disturbing if you contemplate about it too much. The surveillance over the population is harrowing (for example: when you show interest in reading articles about parenthood in the library, you're promptly put in isolation for questioning) and the overall depiction of our future society is just downright depressing. People are stiff, emotionless and robot-like beings and unconditional friendship or even interaction between families doesn't seem to exist anymore. The purely fictional elements of the plot vary from pretty damn scary (the mechanical replacement kids) to silly & clichéd (live newscast reporting from a gigantic zeppelin floating over the Metropolis) but they always remain compelling. The most fantastic trump of "Z.P.G." is that the plot never stops evolving. Once the baby is born, other and even more challenging issues arise, like rivalry and all-overpowering sentiments of mother instinct. This movie is an incredibly absorbing Sci-Fi magnum opus that had my mate and I glued to the screen from start to finish. The atmosphere and despair and paranoia is so real you can almost taste it, the decors and set pieces (albeit occasionally cheap looking) are imaginative and the screenplay is so intelligently written that it covers every tiniest potential plot hole or possible default. Oliver Reed once more demonstrates what an incredibly versatile actor he was. His stern and masculine appearance truly adapts to all sorts of roles; even to a melodramatic one. "Z.P.G." was made at the peak of Reed's career, as he starred in numerous classic horror/cult movies around that time, like "The Devils", "Revolver", "The Hunting Party" and "Blue Blood".
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