Reviews - Specialty Releases


Film Review: The Green Inferno

Undigested cannibal yarn for Midnight Madness audiences is politically challenged but will scare.

Sept 2, 2014

-By Deborah Young


filmjournal/photos/stylus/1407258-Green_Inferno_Md.jpg
An Amazonian cannibal yarn tipping its hat to the 1980 cult classic Cannibal Holocaust by Italian director Ruggero Deodato, but showing little sign of understanding of that film’s journey into the heart of darkness, The Green Inferno functions on the level of a scary if scatterbrained story whose wafting smell of baking flesh will draw Midnight Madness crowds. Eli Roth’s return to the director’s chair after Cabin Fever and Hostel 2 is a well-filmed R-rated scream-fest designed to satisfy viewers’ blood lust, though his childish determination to push the politically incorrect button as often and as hard as possible will dim the enthusiasm of a good number of college students who might otherwise have bought the DVD. Even before its bow at the 2013 Toronto Film Festival, a sequel was announced in the offing, though Roth will not direct it.

Inferno’s first half-hour takes place on a posh university campus in New York, in a careful build-up that establishes the reason why a group of 15 students concerned about the destruction of the Amazon rainforest embarks on a mission to Peru to raise awareness about the plight of endangered Indian tribes.

On campus, the hunky, charismatic Alejandro (Ariel Levy) attracts the attention of Justine (Lorenza Izzo) when he stages a hunger strike for underpaid janitors. Despite the skepticism of her politically apathetic roommate (played with rolled eyes by Sky Ferreira), Justine buys into Alejandro’s next cause: to save the Amazon. Her father, a lawyer at the United Nations, disapproves but gives her the number of the U.S. ambassador to Peru, just in case. The film mercilessly mocks these rich students who embrace a faraway cause to satisfy their own vanity—not least the lovely, naive Justine whose own motivation seems to be her physical attraction to Alejandro.

Anyone who has seen the poster and buys a movie ticket will anxiously anticipate what happens next: a plane crash and a terrifying encounter with a savage Indian tribe who paint their skin red and practice cannibalism. How ironic, the very people the students have come to save, eating them alive. As for the bloody Amazonian part of the film, one can only recall the closing line of Cannibal Holocaust: "I wonder who the real cannibals are," and hope that the Indian actors here were paid union scale.

Izzo, who co-starred with Roth-the-actor in Aftershock, is a fine genre actress, standing out from a cast of blonde women with her naturalistic performance and signs of courage and initiative. As the group’s ambiguous political leader, Levy unapologetically strikes a Che Guevara pose, giving rise to the final lame gag. Along with Aaron Burns, who plays his comic sidekick with a crush on Justine, the main characters at least have personality traits. The Indians, of course, have no individuality because they have no "civilization."

Tech work is nothing fancy but generally to-the-point, with sweeping overhead shots of the rainforest (where it never rains) establishing the remote setting from which few return.

The Hollywood Reporter

Click here for cast & crew information.


Film Review: The Green Inferno

Undigested cannibal yarn for Midnight Madness audiences is politically challenged but will scare.

Sept 2, 2014

-By Deborah Young


filmjournal/photos/stylus/1407258-Green_Inferno_Md.jpg

An Amazonian cannibal yarn tipping its hat to the 1980 cult classic Cannibal Holocaust by Italian director Ruggero Deodato, but showing little sign of understanding of that film’s journey into the heart of darkness, The Green Inferno functions on the level of a scary if scatterbrained story whose wafting smell of baking flesh will draw Midnight Madness crowds. Eli Roth’s return to the director’s chair after Cabin Fever and Hostel 2 is a well-filmed R-rated scream-fest designed to satisfy viewers’ blood lust, though his childish determination to push the politically incorrect button as often and as hard as possible will dim the enthusiasm of a good number of college students who might otherwise have bought the DVD. Even before its bow at the 2013 Toronto Film Festival, a sequel was announced in the offing, though Roth will not direct it.

Inferno’s first half-hour takes place on a posh university campus in New York, in a careful build-up that establishes the reason why a group of 15 students concerned about the destruction of the Amazon rainforest embarks on a mission to Peru to raise awareness about the plight of endangered Indian tribes.

On campus, the hunky, charismatic Alejandro (Ariel Levy) attracts the attention of Justine (Lorenza Izzo) when he stages a hunger strike for underpaid janitors. Despite the skepticism of her politically apathetic roommate (played with rolled eyes by Sky Ferreira), Justine buys into Alejandro’s next cause: to save the Amazon. Her father, a lawyer at the United Nations, disapproves but gives her the number of the U.S. ambassador to Peru, just in case. The film mercilessly mocks these rich students who embrace a faraway cause to satisfy their own vanity—not least the lovely, naive Justine whose own motivation seems to be her physical attraction to Alejandro.

Anyone who has seen the poster and buys a movie ticket will anxiously anticipate what happens next: a plane crash and a terrifying encounter with a savage Indian tribe who paint their skin red and practice cannibalism. How ironic, the very people the students have come to save, eating them alive. As for the bloody Amazonian part of the film, one can only recall the closing line of Cannibal Holocaust: "I wonder who the real cannibals are," and hope that the Indian actors here were paid union scale.

Izzo, who co-starred with Roth-the-actor in Aftershock, is a fine genre actress, standing out from a cast of blonde women with her naturalistic performance and signs of courage and initiative. As the group’s ambiguous political leader, Levy unapologetically strikes a Che Guevara pose, giving rise to the final lame gag. Along with Aaron Burns, who plays his comic sidekick with a crush on Justine, the main characters at least have personality traits. The Indians, of course, have no individuality because they have no "civilization."

Tech work is nothing fancy but generally to-the-point, with sweeping overhead shots of the rainforest (where it never rains) establishing the remote setting from which few return.

The Hollywood Reporter

Click here for cast & crew information.
Post a Comment
Asterisk (*) is a required field.
* Author: 
Rate This Article: (1=Bad, 5=Perfect)

*Comment:
 

More Specialty Releases

Laggies
Film Review: Laggies

Disappointing comedic entry about a late-20s slacker who won’t grow up is writer/filmmaker Lynn Shelton’s first outing directing someone else’s material. Points here for strong cast and an occasional chuckle, but otherwise there’s just no point. More »

Rudderless
Film Review: Rudderless

Well-done indie drama about a lost-soul house painter reborn through rock ’n’ roll is a nice actor’s showcase for star Billy Crudup and an impressive directorial debut for actor William H. Macy. But in spite of some good work onscreen, both hero and story lack the edge and originality to carry this drama beyond respectability. More »

Camp X-Ray
Film Review: Camp X-Ray

Army guard and Guantanamo detainee form a grudging relationship in a thoughtful but far-fetched drama. More »

The Tale of the Princess Kaguya
Film Review: The Tale of The Princess Kaguya

As charming as it is delicate, this unusually low-key, if a tad overlong, animated feature brings yet more prestige to the famed Ghibli output. More »

ADVERTISEMENT



REVIEWS

Fury Review
Film Review: Fury

American tanks fight superior German forces in the closing days of World War II. More »

Birdman
Film Review: Birdman (or the Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

Virtuosic camerawork and a stellar ensemble of actors more than make up for the occasional moment of portentous twaddle in Alejandro G. Iñárritu's latest—and maybe his best—film. More »

Player for the Film Journal International website.


ADVERTISEMENT



INDUSTRY GUIDES

» Blue Sheets
FJI's guide to upcoming movie releases, including films in production and development. Check back weekly for the latest additions.

» Distribution Guide
» Equipment Guide
» Exhibition Guide

ORDER A PRINT SUBSCRIPTION

Film Journal International

Subscribe to the monthly print edition of Film Journal International and get the full visual impact of this valuable resource for the cinema business.

» Click Here

SPONSORSHIP OPPORTUNITIES

Learn how to promote your company at the Film Expo Group events: ShowEast, CineEurope, and CineAsia.

» Click Here