Directed by: Ric Roman Waugh
Written by: Chris Sparling
Starring: Gerard Butler, Morena Baccarin, Roger Dale Floyd
Greenland (2020) Film Review
It's been over ten years since writer Chris Sparling brought us the claustrophobic thriller Buried, starring Ryan Reynolds. Having also written some lesser known titles in the meantime, his latest disaster film Greenland sees a return to form and perhaps a career best.
Gerard Butler plays a structural engineer and family man who gets selected for a government escape plan in light of a badass comet (called Clarke) that is coming to destroy the planet. Getting to the flight to safety proves tricky, not only because of the predictable highway traffic but also the racking guilt that they have been chosen over their neighbours who are likely to perish. The family encounter a maelstrom of issues as they journey across the country, from their son’s insulin supplies to guns and kidnappers.
A modern take on the Deep Impact plot, Greenland injects palpable threat into every inch of the frame. Butler and wife Morena Baccarin are under assault from the word go, not least due to their own marital problems which hang over them like a thunder cloud. They also come across numerous people in full survival mode, whose extreme actions feel authentically handled and genuinely terrifying. A particularly gripping sequence involves Baccarin attempting to get supplies with their son (Roger Dale Floyd) from a drugstore when an unruly gun-wielding gang roll in.
The film benefits from modern CGI and several instances of intense sonic booms which knock characters on their arses numerous times. When the sky rains burning fragments from the comet, the effect on the viewer is fiercely engaging, being immersed in the tumultuous attack. Rather a shame Greenland went straight to Amazon Prime, as this is perfect action cinema.
As with the majority of disaster genre films, Greenland has predictability spewing from its ears. The central characters all behave exactly as you would expect them to and all make the same mistakes you scream at the screen not to. Where Sparling injects notes of originality, however, are in the human elements of the story, in particular those in survival mode.
Gripping and emotionally investing, grab a slice of the apocalypse baby - before anyone else takes it first.