Review by Sean Boelman
Directed by Graham Denman and written by Patrick R. Young (from a story by Denman), Greenlight is a wicked new thriller set in the world of filmmaking. A surprisingly strong take on the “what would you do” genre, this film will keep the audience on their toes thanks to excellent suspense building and some simple but effective thrills.
The movie tells the story of a director who thinks he is in for the job of his dreams when he gets hired to helm his first feature-length film, only to discover that the producer has more sinister intentions. Although this premise is very simple in nature, it provides plenty of intrigue to keep the audience invested in the mystery.
It does take a while for the movie to initially get moving — the first thirty minutes or so are much needed character development to make the story feel more plausible — but once it does get moving, it keeps going at a consistently intense pace. Even though it seems like there’s not a lot happening in this film at times, it still feels exciting thanks to Denman’s able direction.
The tone of the movie is also very interesting. While the film is mostly about evaluating the moral complexities of the situation, there is a darkly funny sense of humor to certain portions of the script, and that makes the movie even more uncomfortable (to great effect). Much of the film leans on the sense of anxiety that the events create both within the characters and the audience.
Additionally, the movie does a very good job of developing the characters of the film in a way that is very compelling. Although the story will likely be more empathetic to anyone who has been in a creative profession such as this, the movie’s message regarding ambition is absolutely universal and will allow the film to connect with anyone.
The actors also do a very good job at bringing their characters to life. Chase Williamson is a very charming leading man, and he’s obviously very talented at conveying a great range of emotions. That said, Chris Browning is the real highlight of the movie as the enjoyably over-the-top antagonistic producer.
On a technical level, the film obviously has a very low budget, but it often uses this to its advantage. For example, by making the film-within-a-film a B-movie, the film itself minimizes its budget and adopts an almost self-aware feeling about itself (adding to the dark humor). The result is a movie with wonderfully minimalistic execution.
Greenlight takes its simple premise and runs with it, delivering a fun and thought-provoking thriller. Denman is obviously a very talented filmmaker, so it will be exciting what he gets to do in the future once he gets his hands on a bigger budget.
Greenlight is now available on VOD.