A rugged recluse stumbles upon a pair of sunglasses that make the deadly truth about the world, visible. Skull-faced ghouls make up the abundant population of the social elite and subliminal messages are lulling the public into submission.
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As an angsty teen, I latched on to "They Live's" anti-consumerist theme: the mainstream media is trying to keep us asleep, man! As an adult in 2017, reality is so much more complicated - but the beauty of Carpenter's film is that it holds up to contemporary readings. "They Live" is a smart, shrewd, and deliriously fun rollercoaster ride with a message of class division that resonates even more in the Trump Era.
The perfect blend of anarchic pop-satire, B-movie pastiche and the usual Carpenter quirk of transposing the recognisable style and iconography of the western genre onto something more relevant and contemporary. They Live also best illustrates Carpenter's somewhat underrated ability to block and edit sequences in a way that communicates the story on a visual level, as well as being exceedingly intelligent & cinematic.
an eye opening masterpiece by the Master that is incredibly relevant today. a rare politically minded film (expertly masked as a b-movie) that hits hard right on target. don't believe the hype and fight the power!
So they had a witty idea about how to discuss power in media society - and they were able to screen it in a powerful way, such a well designed black and white sci-fi world. I just don't get why they would show so little of it, turning the whole film into a crashing and bombing action packed testosterama. To me, it's a cool opportunity missed.