Greenland isn't Gerard Butler's first rodeo when it comes to end-of-the-world scale disaster films, Geostorm back in 2017 springing to mind and immediately out of it again. All the marketing for his latest effort pointed at Greenland being another, in more ways than one, epic disaster film but there's actually a fair bit more to this one than meets the eye.

John Garrity (Gerard Butler) is a structural engineer having martial problems with his estranged wife, Allison (Morena Baccarin), and not too close a relationship with his son, Nathan (Roger Dale Floyd). An automated message on his phone claims he and his family have been selected for emergency sheltering as a comet head towards Earth. The family face a race against time to make their way to a secure bunker in a secret location before all life on Earth is wiped out.
It's been a long while since we've had a decent disaster film and Greenland is here to scratch that itch, sensible and measured in its approach as opposed to being nonsensical and falling into the many traps a lot of these films fail to avoid. A lot of people want to see nothing but explosions and collapsing buildings, often meaning the narrative is lost amongst the noise and chaos, meaning films like this can quickly become quite stale. Ric Roman Waugh though decides to keep the action a little more low-key yet spectacular when it arrives, and it really serves the film well in becoming a better disaster film than recent years have provided.

Waugh's film instead decides to focus more on humanity and its downfall in the wake of news that the end is nigh, the population being rife with desperation. It's a state of mind that leads to such attrocities as kidnapping and murder occurring as people get wind of the secret bunkers around the world and the planes carrying those selected such as Garrity and his family.

With this in mind, Greenland is anchored by an emotional performance from Gerard Butler that we aren't really used to seeing from him anymore. He's not a man going up in a rocket to blow up the comet or trying to save everyone he can, he's just doing what he can to get his family to safety and the urgency exudes from Butler's voice and expressions throughout. These films are usually littlered with throwaway characters and while there are certainly some on show here, Morena Baccarin gets much more to do than the wife normally would, the subplot with her son and another couple being one I was not expecting, and she does a great job in the role.

Greenland really did take me by surprise, expecting a 2012 type disaster in a wider sense of the term however, Ric Roman Waugh really does deliver a disaster film that is a lot more grounded than you'd expect and certainly more emotional. 

Verdict: ★★★★


  1. Hmm, this sounds interesting! I would have dismissed it straight off, as I find Butler films to be OTT, but your review makes it sounds promising.

    1. It's not what I was expecting at all. Thought it would be more like 2012 or San Andreas but much more grounded than both of them.


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