+ Recommended – NR, Comedy, Adventure
After spending too much time indoors on the set of Naomi Jones, Director Tom Knoblauch decided to transition his setting to a more natural appeal. Green on Greenshowcases this newfound passion for the outdoors, and what it means to be aware of our environment in relation to ourselves.
Camille Green, a creative non-fiction grad student at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, joins an ecology trip focusing on research to obtain an impressive memoir topic for her thesis. Green (Rachel Dinan) must shift her focus from herself to her surroundings to prove she has what it takes to become a creative non-fiction writer, but more importantly, a human being.
The literal word “green” applies to many themes and even the setting within the story. Over half of the film takes place outside where plant life and blue skies can dominate the camera lens; these beautiful stills and wide-angle shots are worth the watch alone. However, it’s the message hidden behind the vegetation that culminates to shape a meaningful viewing experience. Green on Green tackles relevant topics pertaining to our environment, but should have gone even further; showing the audience what they could do rather than explaining the meaning of existentialism.
That shouldn’t discredit the filmmakers though, as the run time clocks-in at 1 hour and 30 minutes, leaving very little time to build on these trace elements within the plot. Instead, the focus is shifted towards our main character, Camille Green. Dinan does a fine job switching between her comedic and dramatic scenes. Leah Cardenas (Naomi Jones) proves that a subtle performance can lead to a greater, more meaningful connection with a character. Other supporting cast members are likeable, and may not have gotten the screen-time they deserve; again, the film only has so much time.
“How is the cinematography?” You may ask. Ben Matukewicz doesn’t hesitate to show the audience some of the most gorgeous landscapes from right here in Nebraska. Spatially, Matukewicz effectively details the surrounding environment so the audience can follow the cuts and transitions from scene to scene. Transition edits themselves, however, feel sloppy and sporadic at times. Musically, Green on Green provides some excellent tunes from Huston Hunter, Bach Mai, and Allison Axiotis. In fact, this may be my favorite soundtrack to any feature made in Nebraska.
Overall, Green on Green proves the Nebraska community has more to offer than just shorts. Rich, directional storytelling and a dedicated cast can add layers to a movie that would otherwise look scarce on paper. With a little help of crowdfunding, and hard work, Nebraska might just prove to be a prime shooting location for many up and coming filmmakers. Be sure to check out Green on Green when it releases on June 7th of this year!