No Remedy to Soulless Living in Everything's Gone Green
- Annabelle Robertson Entertainment Critic
- 2007 13 Apr
DVD Release Date: July 31, 2007
Theatrical Release Date: April 13, 2007
Rating: R (for some language, sexual materials and drug content)
Run Time: 95 min.
Director: Paul Fox
Actors: Paulo Constanzo, Steph Song, J.R. Bourne, Auden Devine, Susan Hogan
In 1992, Canadian author Douglas Copeland coined the term “Generation X” with his novel about adults who were coming-of-age in an increasingly disillusioned and materialistic era. He portrayed the generation born after 1964 as one who had watched their homes annihilated by divorce and who were now caught between the need to survive and a desperate, desolate search for meaning.
It is not surprising, therefore, that as the screenwriter for Everything’s Gone Green, Copeland explores the same theme. Fortunately, his angst-ridden, insightful dialogue is one of the best things about this low budget but well-made independent film. And, like his novels, Copeland certainly prompts us to ponder the deeper questions of life.
“Does anybody do anything real these days?” asks 29-year-old Ryan (Paulo Constanzo, of TV’s Joey). “Everyone’s in on a scam or creating something nobody really needs to sell to people who are too stupid to care or notice. Whatever happened to just being real? Why aren’t we content to just be middle class?”
Another character answers, “Middle class? It’s cute but unworkable—unless you’re using middle class pictures to sell things to people who still think there’s a middle class. But it’s all just pictures. And I mean the old suburbs we grew up in. You show the kids playing road hockey and mom serving the four food groups on the table every night. But the parents were always fighting and having key parties. And the kids all ended up hooked on drugs and addicted to Play Station and nobody ever talked about anything real. I mean, I don’t miss it, man. No way. And now they’re not even sure whether it’s four food groups or three. It really makes you think.”
Ryan certainly has time to do that. After losing his girlfriend, job and apartment on the same day, he is seriously bumming. His parents aren’t any help at all, his older brother thinks he’s a loser and his ten-year-old niece just wants to be “a trophy wife.” When a whale gets stranded on one of Vancouver’s many beaches, Ryan meets the lovely Ming (Steph Song), who like him, has reached out to “touch something bigger than herself.”
Unfortunately, Ming is dating Bryce (J.R. Bourne), a successful golf course designer. But when Bryce pulls Ryan into a lucrative money laundering scheme, Ryan finds himself driving a new car and able to attract beautiful women. Can it last? Should it? After all, Ryan has really started to see what money can do to people.
“They can’t handle money they didn’t earn,” he says, of the many winners he interviews for his new job with the British Columbia lottery. “They have meltdowns. Families disintegrate. It’s simplistic to say that money invariably ruins the life of a winner, but it does. They go into debt, they get greedier for more. And sure, sometimes people manage to not have their lives ruined. But instead of using the money to make art or contemplate the world, winners have acrylic murals of Shania Twain painted on their walls and they buy these dopey cars.” Then, displaying the kind of slow-dawning self-awareness that eventually characterizes Copeland’s Xers, Ryan glances over at his shiny new Mustang convertible.
It’s a good message, and it’s delivered by good actors, all the way around, as well as a good (even if novice) director. The cinematography isn’t bad either, with Vancouver lovingly displayed for would-be tourists. They even managed to leave out the clichéd, cinematic sunsets—although the city has some of the best in the world, every single day.
Unfortunately, Copeland never offers a remedy to the soulless living he so devastatingly describes. Like his book, his film ends on an extremely nihilistic note—which is, of course, the curse of this postmodern age. “You’re corrupt,” Ming says. “But it’s okay. It happens to everyone.”
When we deny the existence of absolute truth, where does morality begin and end? It must necessarily fall to each individual to define for himself. Yet this merely perpetuates the cycle of meaninglessness, materialism and hypocrisy, because values and egotism of millions of individuals are bound to collide.
The only solution to this conundrum? Find love. And, as Ryan insists, “be real.” Whatever that means.
AUDIENCE: Adults only
- Video Pop-Ups
- Extended Scenes
- Lincoln Clarke’s Photo Gallery
- Poster Gallery
- Special Brownie Recipe (includes “1/2 ounce herb of choice” ingredient, with “seeds and stem removed” which is cooked in butter then “reserved for later use”)
- Audio Commentary
- Drugs/Alcohol: Drinking (usually beer) in several scenes, usually within a social context; various references to drug use; a large-scale drug operation is shown and discussed in several scenes as being extremely profitable for both owners and workers (some characters are eventually arrested but never accept responsibility for their crime).
- Language/Profanity: A handful of profanities and obscenities, a few of which are strong.
- Sexual Content/Nudity: A man appears to be looking at porn on his computer, but quickly shuts it off; a couple meets and immediately goes to her apartment, where he takes pictures of her in sexual poses, wearing lingerie; office employees gather around computer screen and watch a pornographic Web site (no nudity); character sees a friend on pornographic Web site having sex (not shown) with his one-night-stand.
- Violence: Various references to Japanese mafia; men fist fight (no injuries); fearful Chinese grandmother holds up knife when mail comes through slot; angry wife crushes car windshield with baseball bat.