IMDb Link: Greenland (2020)
Director: Ric Roman Waugh
Writer: Chris Sparling
Starring: Gerard Butler, Morena Baccarin, Roger Dale Floyd
Synopsis: A family struggles for survival in the face of a cataclysmic natural disaster.
To begin this review, I want to point out that I am not a fan of the ‘disaster movie’ genre. Whether that is the collection of other Gerard Butler films or ones such as The Day After Tomorrow or 2012, they have never really been my type of genre. I find them all to be predictable in narrative, overly-dramatic, and very convenient in premise and ending, never really feeling earned.
As much as the premise and opening of the film want you to believe, this film is not purely about the natural disaster that is coming to hit Earth. However, when it is, the visual effects are incredibly believable and have a wonderful look to them. This is also backed with news footage of the disaster when it occurs, explaining some of the science behind the natural disaster in a way that is easy for audiences to both understand and believe.
Instead, the main premise of the film is about the survival of one family, something that is refreshing to see within the disaster genre. The writing is so well done, creating these moments of tension purely focused on the family and not with any of the natural disaster plotlines. It is so easy to become invested in the story throughout the entire two-hour runtime, which goes by quickly and is paced so well.
The characters in this film feel extremely real and are written so well. This is not a family that is dumb and makes bad decisions, instead they think both logically and emotionally, making each bad thing that happens hurt even more. When the film presents an idea near the start of acting with your heart and acting with your head and watching it all unfold because they know what the only choice is, it is hard to watch but so well done.
The reason these characters are able to come to life the way and create as much of an impact as they do is because of the three leading performances. As expected, Gerard Butler does a great job selling the world and all of the moments that he has to take in charge. However, the relationship between the mother and son of this film (played respectively by Morena Baccarin and Roger Dale Floyd) is what steals the film and turns this story into the emotional rollercoaster that it is.
There are times that the film does fall into some of the tropes within the disaster genre. I wish the film did more with the opening of the film and the relationships that are established between our leadnig family and the neighborhood, as that seems to set up a situation and is forgotten about for the rest of the film. I also found a few things to just simply be convenient in the plot, particularly in the second half of the film. However, none of these are ever too distracting from the main plot and they don’t take away from the entertainment value of the film.
The fact that I am giving this film a high score should say something about the quality of this film. I would usually not be the sort of person that would even watch a film of this genre, let alone write about it and promote it. However, it might be my favourite film of that genre to be made. It does not feel like a traditional disaster film, instead focusing on the family trauma and these scenes are so well done that it is hard not to be impressed with that is on offer. Quite simply, this is a recommend for me.
Greenland is available to watch on Amazon Prime now.