TL;DR – A disaster film that leans into the emotion and is better for it.
Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene
Greenland Review –
After falling off the face of the Earth, disaster films have started to make a resurgence in the cinemas. There have been good disaster films and bad, but one of the core similarities is that a bunch of them have stared Gerard Butler. Well, we now have another entry into this particular genre so let’s dive in.
So to set the scene, we open in Atlanta, Georgia as architect John Garrity (Gerard Butler), is trying to keep things as normal as possible for his son Nathan (Roger Dale Floyd) after his marriage with Allison (Morena Baccarin) fell apart. While this is happening, all of Earth is looking up at the Clarke Comet that was picked up only weeks ago. The scientists say it will burn up in the atmosphere and make a great light show, but after John gets a Presidential Alert, he realises that something more is going on and then the first boom hits.
One thing that surprised me with this film is how personal it was with its narrative. In many disaster films, you have a large group of characters so that you can kill a bunch of them off in the bombastic carnage. In Greenland, there is the bombast in locations, but that is not the focus, the focus is on the family, and their experiences as the world and society collapses around them. This is headlined by some emotional moments from our leads Gerard Butler, Morena Baccarin & Roger Dale Floyd. You first see this at the start when we see the anguish as they have to leave a neighbour’s child behind, knowing that they could not save them.
This is a film which explores the twin dangers of an event like this. The first is the danger from the comet, a fragmentary disaster that could rain down hell at any moment at any place. That makes it a threat that is always present sitting in the back of your head as the sky turns red and smoke flows from impact sites. The threat of disaster is added to by a ticking clock of the big one’s impact that you see on TV screens and radio announcements, always letting you know that the end is near. The main danger is other people as society crumbles around them; these people risk the evacuation, storm pharmacies, and steal children.
While there is the apparent selfish behaviour that puts people’s lives in jeopardy, but what shines through is the moments of human kindness. The soldier that listens to a scared child, the nurse who helps the best she can, the strangers who are giving people a lift when there is no reason to stop, and those who were staying behind to help the evacuation even though they know they and their families won’t be saved. These moments of humanity in the wave of despair set this apart from a lot of other films.
In the end, do we recommend Greenland? Yes, yes we do. Honestly, I don’t know what I was expecting, maybe all flash and bombast. However, this was a film that wanted to explore the emotions of this crisis, and it was better for it. If you liked Greenland, I would also recommend to you Geostorm.
By Brian MacNamara: You can follow Brian on Twitter Here, when he’s not chatting about Movies and TV, he’ll be talking about International Relations, or the Solar System.
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Credits – All images were created by the cast, crew, and production companies of Greenland
Directed by – Ric Roman Waugh
Written by – Chris Sparling
Music by – David Buckley
Cinematography by – Dana Gonzales
Edited by – Gabriel Fleming
Production/Distribution Companies – STX Films, Anton, Thunder Road Pictures, G-BASE & Riverstone Pictures
Starring – Gerard Butler, Morena Baccarin, Roger Dale Floyd, Scott Glenn, David Denman, Hope Davis, Andrew Bachelor, Merrin Dungey, Gary Weeks, Tracey Bonner, Claire Bronson, Madison Johnson, Holt McCallany & Adam Cronan
Rating – Australia: MA15+;