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Greenland Review

Just in case you need an escape from pandemic life, Amazon Prime Video have you covered with the latest big budget disaster flick Greenland. The long delayed apocalyptic instalment, which was originally set for release back in August 2020, is finally hitting the UK this week. With Gerard Butler attached, you’d be forgiven for predicting that he’d be going head to head with the comet, however there’s a shocking amount of grounded realism to the film which may disappoint or surprise you.

Directed by Ric Roman Waugh, Greenland centres on the Garrity family as they excitedly watch the landmark passing of the Clarke comet with friends. But when disturbing news reports emerge of pieces of the comet destroying cities around the Earth, the family face a perilous race against time to catch a plane to safety. Travelling amid growing panic and riots, the family discover the incoming comet will cause an extinction level event, leading them on a desperate and frantic journey.

Anyone tuning in for a typical action-packed Gerard Butler blockbuster should buckle up, as Greenland is a surprisingly unsettling and bleak disaster drama. There’s a worrying realism to the unravelling global emergency, which results in looting, gridlocks on the highways and fighting between the army and desperate and confused crowds. However Waugh, the acclaimed stuntmen turned director, has managed to breathe life into the genre, breaking free of the usual tropes by splitting the family up as they attempt to race North for added suspense. There’s a couple of surprisingly emotional twists and turns along the way too, which will keep you gripped and rooting for the Garrity’s throughout.

Butler is definitely the man for these kinds of roles, following action packed hits Angel Has Fallen and similarly apocalyptic themed Geostorm. However, long gone is the stoic and gun  toting lead, replaced with a more emotional and regretful husband and father, searching for redemption. Despite the marketing, the film is truly carried by the fantastic Morena Baccarin, who’s strength and determination as Allison to save her son is commendable. Your heart will really go out to this woman who goes through so much anguish on her journey, keeping you genuinely invested in the reunion of the family. Her drive to protect Nathan is admirable and the two do a lot of the emotional lifting in the film, sharing a fantastic chemistry. Child actors are usually hit or miss in this genre, but Roger Dale Floyd is also a pleasant surprise, particularly alongside Baccarin.

Unlike Geostorm, this film features a genuinely impressive production, paired with great CGI which notably brings to life the destructive impacts of the comet. There’s plenty of explosions, stampedes and crashes, adding to the dramatic spectacle of it all – it’s a shame audiences might not get to see this on the big screen. While it’s unfortunately not quite as ridiculous as Armageddon, the well choreographed chase and fight sequences more than make up for how seriously this film takes itself.

Verdict

With a surprisingly emotional core and fantastic lead performance from Morena Baccarin, Greenland isn’t necessarily the Gerard Butler film you’d expect. Despite the overall bleakness of the production, it’s refreshing to see director Waugh attempt to break genre conventions with the mother consistently saving the day.

Greenland is released on Amazon Prime Video in the UK on February 5.

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