Greenland

Release: Friday, December 18, 2020 (VOD)

👀 Amazon Prime 

Written by: Chris Sparling

Directed by: Ric Roman Waugh

Starring: Gerard Butler; Morena Baccarin; Roger Dale Floyd; David Denman; Hope Davis; Scott Glenn; a comet named Clark

Distributor: STXfilms 

 

 

 

***/*****

Downbeat disaster movie Greenland reunites star Gerard Butler with Angel Has Fallen director Ric Roman Waugh and for the second time running they’ve delivered solid if logically shaky entertainment. There’s clearly a synergy between these two for they will collaborate again on a Greenland sequel, a prospect that seems justified beyond the profit margin. 

A comet is coming to town and a bearded Butler has to get himself and his family to safety, or whatever around here passes for safety when it turns out the threat isn’t one cohesive object but rather a large group of fragments. What was supposed to be a spectacular near-earth passing witnessed on TV now has extinction level event written all over it. Comet forecasting isn’t an exact science but boy does the situation deteriorate quickly. Florida gets obliterated, and soon enough mass panic grips society.

Waugh’s doomsday thriller has a different, more serious thrust than something the likes of Michael Bay or Roland Emmerich might concoct. More concerned with what’s going on in people’s heads rather than what’s happening in the sky, Greenland imagines a scenario where one’s employment status determines whether they are invited to the apocalyptic afterparty. When Atlanta-based engineer John Garrity (Butler), his estranged wife Alison (Morena Baccarin) and son Nathan (Roger Dale Floyd) are selected by the government for emergency sheltering, hope for safe passage is dashed by a pesky medical detail which prevents them from boarding a plane and thrusts them into the very chaos the patriarch’s shrewdly selected career path was about to spare them from.

As if navigating the collapse of society as a family isn’t scary enough — jet fuel, open gunfire and panicked mobs at Robbins Air Force Base make for a lethal combination — Chris Sparling’s screenplay further ratchets up the drama by scattering the Garritys across the map, splitting the time fairly evenly between the two camps. Butler in particular is impressive downplaying his action hero persona, convincing as an everyman who disgusts himself with the things he ends up doing in an attempt to reunite with his loved ones.

Meanwhile Alison hatches a plan to rendezvous back at her father (Scott Glenn)’s farmstead. Baccarin is rock-solid in the role, and if our sympathies aren’t already aligned with her — John’s presumably had an affair, something that’s only ever hinted at a couple of times throughout — they are wholly and completely when Nathan is imperiled by opportunists posing as Good Samaritans (David Denman and Hope Davis, both very good in their contributions to the Worst Of side of the humanitarian ledger).

Despite some serendipitous turns that force the plot to go where it needs to, Greenland maintains a level of gritty realism that feels rare for the genre and wrings fairly consistent tension from the often unpleasant exchanges between strangers. Even the grand finale is understated, the antithesis of Michael Bay. A select few moments of cheap-looking CGI confess to the modest ($35 million) budget, but for the most part the intimate scope creatively disguises those limitations.

Marginally worse than Black Friday at Wal-Mart

Moral of the Story: The anarchic, human angle and an atypical Gerard Butler performance make Greenland a pretty easy recommendation for fans of end-of-the-world thrillers. 

Rated: PG-13

Running Time: 119 mins.

Quoted: “My friend Teddy says your life flashes in front of your eyes when you die. I think it would be better if it did that while you lived. That way, you could see all the good memories and be happy.”

All content originally published and the reproduction elsewhere without the expressed written consent of the blog owner is prohibited. 

Photo credits: www.impawards.com; www.imdb.com 

5 thoughts on “Greenland

  1. I’ve been meaning to watch this, but I’ve never been a big butler fan, until I first saw 300 not that long ago and fucken loved it. Go figure 😛

    I think I still have this… Solid but shaky on logic has never been something to bother me, imo such a thing doesn’t exist… this is fiction, yknow? Unless its a serious drama then who cares!? For me its a good thing, and I like the sound of it being more realistic and serious compared to a Michael Bay film (I’ll always love The Rock though hehe). I like this genre, and a finale that is antithesis of Michael Bay? Haha that sentence alone has me wanting to see what that would look like.

    Six months ago I wouldn’t have watched this, but now you’ve put it back on my radar. Cheers! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think honestly Greenland is up there with Butler’s best. He’s not playing super-macho like in 300 (which is probably the high point for him, period) but I found it interesting him playing a family man. He does good in the role. The rest of the movie is really interesting in how it plays around with social disorder and unrest and how manners just go out the window in the face of annihilation. I think you’ll get a kick out of this one

      Like

  2. Ha, the hell with self-control, let rip at that film with all the ire it deserves. I look forward to that post! I still can’t fathom how they dropped an alleged $200 million (that’s somehow $15 million more than Dune cost) into that rubbish, even accounting for the $60 million that trio of talented thespians took. Jeez, there’s people starving in this world and kids who can’t get decent clothes for school.. but hey, these guys get a new beach-house or the seventeenth sports car for their garage.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Yeah I really quite enjoyed this, much to my own surprise- it only got spoiled by the ending. But definitely well worth a watch, and I’d love to find a copy on disc to give to my folks (who don’t have any internet, never mind any streaming services) but here in the UK it doesn’t appear to be getting any physical release at all, not even on lowly DVD: the Dark Side of Streaming, I call it.

    I hate seeing good or decent films that I can’t get my folks to see. ‘Progress’, the Streaming Overlords call it…

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s a shame, as while Greenland doesn’t exactly scream blockbuster it certainly is deserving of wider availability. It’s one of this rare understated doomsday thrillers that has a couple of really awesome touches that made me geek out (the guy getting blown off his feet when the impact happens, despite being 400+ miles away; the sight of the comet striking Tampa on TV — I always love small things like that).

      On the contrary and despite your generous warning against it, I sat down with Red Notice the other night and am in the process of trying to control myself so I don’t totally rip it apart. I can’t believe how lazy and lame it was.

      Liked by 1 person

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