×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Film Review: ‘A Green Story’

An earnest but clunky inspirational drama about a Greek emigre's rise from poverty.

With:
Shannon Elizabeth, Ed O'Ross, Billy Zane, Annabella Sciorra, Malcolm McDowell, Roger Bart, George Finn, Alessandra Torresani, Alexis Georgoulis, Louis Mandylor, Robin Thomas, Julianna Guill, John Billingsley.

“Inspired by true events,” earnest but clunky inspirational drama “A Green Story” chronicles the struggles of a Greek emigre who rises from poverty to become the leading inventor of eco-friendly household cleaning solvents. It’s about as exciting as that sounds, despite reasonably slick presentation by writer-director-producer Nika Agiashivili. Some familiar names in supporting roles will help boost visibility, but prospects for the pic (which opens theatrically in New York and Los Angeles this Friday) are modest at best in any format.

Played in maturity by Ed O’Ross, Van Vlahakis is a gloomy self-made man who’s owner and CEO of “Earth-Friendly Products,” an innovator in the field of “green” detergents. Flashbacks reveal his angst
as stemming from the childhood loss of a father to Nazi occupiers; a rough initial landing in the U.S., including time in a homeless shelter (with George Finn as the young adult Van); and the loss of a first marriage to workaholism. In the present tense, the chemist-turned-entrepreneur continues to battle, trying to get his company’s products into the mass market as he’s facing a terminal cancer diagnosis.

While it must have seemed the stuff of true drama to the filmmakers, none of this is very compelling in the telling, suggesting that a documentary about the real-life “inspiration” might have been more effective than this attempt to make his saga engrossing in fictionalized terms. Tepid major thread of suspense rests on Van’s stubborn push to get his products in big-box chain stores, opposed by Malcolm McDowell as a rival manufacturer’s shill; neither that, the protag’s health crisis, nor the flashbacks manage more than a flat one-dimensionality.

Popular on Variety

This latter quality handicaps the supporting thesps, who include Shannon Elizabeth, Billy Zane and Roger Bart. Annabella Sciorra plays a potential love interest (not the first) drawn to the apparently irresistible Van, who nonetheless appears entirely resistible in O’Ross’ glum, unattractive central performance. Some bit-part players are notably weak, and seem to have been cast for reasons other than actual acting ability.

The film’s primary failure is that it never conveys the internal passion of a man willing to sacrifice everything to make the world a better (and cleaner) place. Instead, Van seems like a sullen bore. It doesn’t help “A Green Story’s” case that it resolves his health crisis and other dangling plot threads
in credulity-stretching, all-too-convenient fashion at the last minute. Packaging is straightforwardly pro.

Film Review: 'A Green Story'

Reviewed on DVD, San Francisco, May 22, 2013. Running time: 95 MIN.

Production: An Indican Pictures release of a Paramyth Films presentation. Produced by Nika Agiashvili, John Edward Lee, Deanna Plascencia, Chadwick Struck, Dimitris Birbilis.

Crew: Directed, written by Nika Agiashvili.  Camera (HD, widescreen), Tari Segal; editor, Jason Zeni; music, Elton Ahi; production designer, Mark Macauley; art director, Lasha Zambakhidze; costume designer, Alicya Blake; sound, Alex Zander, Yossi Shakked; assistant director, Jason Sklar; casting, Chadwick Struck.

With: Shannon Elizabeth, Ed O'Ross, Billy Zane, Annabella Sciorra, Malcolm McDowell, Roger Bart, George Finn, Alessandra Torresani, Alexis Georgoulis, Louis Mandylor, Robin Thomas, Julianna Guill, John Billingsley.

More Film

  • MADRID-CONTENT-CITY-RAUL-BERDONÉS

    Secuoya, Planeta Launch Madrid Content City, Site of Netflix’s First European Production Hub

    Spain’s Secuoya Studios has teamed with publishing giant the Planeta Group to expand Madrid Content City, the audiovisual complex that hosts Netflix first European Production Hub. Madrid Content City will multiply by a factor of seven its current operating area of 22,000 square-meters (236,806 square-feet). In total, Madrid Content City will span 140,000 square-meters (1.5 [...]

  • Imogen Poots

    'Black Christmas' Star Imogen Poots on Why Male Horror Fans Should See Slasher Remake

    “Black Christmas” is the second remake of the 1974 slasher classic, which centers on a group of sorority sisters stalked by an unknown murderer. While the original had the female protagonists (SPOILER) offed, in this one, the women fight back. “It’s been called a re-imagining of the original, and I think, in ways that the [...]

  • Imogen Poots as Riley in "Black

    'Black Christmas': Film Review

    “Black Christmas,” a low-budget Canadian horror movie released in 1974, was a slasher thriller with a difference: It was the very first one! Okay, there were more than a few precedents, from “Psycho” (the great-granddaddy of the genre) to “The Last House on the Left” and “The Texas Chain Saw Massacre” to Mario Bava’s “A [...]

  • David Benioff, D.B. Weiss. Creators and

    'Game of Thrones' Creators to Develop H.P. Lovecraft Movie at Warner Bros.

    Following their exit from the “Star Wars” universe, “Game of Thrones” co-creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss have found their replacement pic, signing on to produce an untitled thriller based on the graphic novel “Lovecraft” for Warner Bros. It is unknown if they will also direct the project, but they’ve already set Phil Hay and [...]

  • Little Women Greta Gerwig BTS

    Greta Gerwig and 'Little Women' Crew Mix Modern and Classical

    Greta Gerwig wrote and directed Sony’s “Little Women,” a new look at Louisa May Alcott’s much-loved 19th-century classic. Eager to pay tribute to her artisan colleagues, Gerwig says, “It was a joy for me to work with all these people. It’s a movie that’s impossible to create without world-class artists. They killed themselves for me!” [...]

  • Honey Boy

    Shia LaBeouf's 'Honey Boy' Adds Unusual Twist to Oscar's History With Kids

    Hollywood has made many terrific films about childhood, and many about filmmaking. Amazon’s “Honey Boy,” which opened Nov. 8, combines the two: A movie with a child’s POV of the industry. That unique angle could be a real benefit during awards season, and the film’s backstory — with Shia LaBeouf as the main attraction — will [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content