The Green Inferno (2013) **1/2
D: Eli Roth
C: Lorenza Izzo, Ariel Levy, Aaron Burns, Kirby Bliss Blanton, Magda Apanowicz, Sky Ferreira, Nicolás Martínez, Aaron Burns, Ignacia Allamand, Antonieta Pari, Ramón Llao, Richard Burgi, Matías López
Plot Synopsis: A group of student activists travels to the Amazon to save the rain forest and soon discover that they are not alone, and that no good deed goes unpunished.
Review: In The Green Inferno, we witness a group of college aged students crash land in the middle of the Amazon. It's there that they're token prisoner by a group of cannibals who think that they're land developers & mercenaries who are hell bent on destroying their habitat.
The group of students are whittled away as they're cooked up for dinner to the Amazonian's. This is the type of premise that's ripe for exploration. In it, we see the political shuffling involved in tearing up these habitats and how it affects others. We see issues involving morality and doing things for the right reason vs doing something to bolster your own popularity. We see the culture of the Amazonian cannibals. There's an intriguing finale and this is just the tip of the iceberg to some of the issues at hand. This makes for both an interesting and engaging film experience.
However, writer, director Eli Roth doesn't fully trust his material. Too often, he resorts to humor, jokes, one liners & sight gags to defuse the seriousness of the story. It would've made for one harrowing experience, but a film with an important message behind it. That message gets muddled by the humor.
With past films, Eli Roth had a variety of ideas, too many in fact. He didn't know how to edit himself in forming a cohesive movie. The Green Inferno is Roth's most realized film, to date, in that all of the ideas that he presents lend themselves to one another. It's the humor that feels like an unnecessary addition, but I get why Roth included it.
Over the years, Roth has token considerable heat for scenes of on screen violence, especially in regards to Hostel. With The Green Inferno, there was no doubt that there was going to be plenty of on screen violence. After all, the story deals with cannibalism! The difference here is that violence is in service of the story, of exploring a train of thought and in helping to convey a message. It's a shame that Roth doesn't have the conviction to declare that the violence presented in this film is a necessary element of the story at hand. He attempts to apologize for the violence by interjecting his own brand of humor.
Violence, in of itself, isn't offensive. It's the sneaky excuses that people use for presenting violence that are. This time around, Roth has replaced gratuitous violence with gratuitous humor. [R] 100 minutes.
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