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5 Green Movies and Hold the Ham

ENTERTAINMENT | OPINION Written by Nathan Cosmic (he/him) | @nathan.cosmic | Contributing Writer



Since the dawn of technicolour, the colours of cinema have told us many stories. Orange in Francis Ford-Coppola’s The Godfather (1972) foreshadows death. In Star Wars’s The Empire Strikes Back (1980), red symbolises evil. Pink in Legally Blonde (2001) symbolises an outsider and femininity that speaks to the patriarchal way the law is practised.


Green in film can have various meanings and no obvious clear-cut cinematic meaning. Yet, the movies listed here have all used it inventively. The list contains different but entertaining movies you must see. Showing a master class in filmmaking and story-making, the films listed contain ideas that can be engaged with in your own lives.




The movie opens with our astronauts George Taylor, Landon, and Dodge, who crash land on a desolate, deserted, dead world. The planet looks like the day after a post-apocalypse, with no signs of life, just rocky terrain and lifeless still rivers. The planet's environment is silent. There is nothing to be heard. The attention is squarely on the three crew members' survival.


The surviving crew have three days' worth of water and supplies. Towards the end of the third day, a plant is found, which signals civilisation. However, they find humans dressed in rags. Mute and primitive. Then, out of the grass, a fierce group of apes on horses erupt, treating the found humans as prey.


The movie's green motif marks the familiar. When the first sign of life is found, it is a simple weed growing out of the sand, which grows into a field of long grass where humans are hunted and caged by apes. The astronauts quickly realise the planet they landed on isn't as they thought. Instead, they've landed on an unfamiliar planet where the food chain hierarchy makes them dinner or a science experiment. 


The colour green marks this transition. Before, they were interstellar explorers, but the crew's place in the animal kingdom changed in that field of long grass. Their savage ape masters catch and kill humans for sport.


From its messages of ignoring scientific opinions to its allegory of human treatment of the environment, the Planet of the Apes is a prophetic depiction of the modern world.




Atonement tells the story of a girl who trusts her own eyes and accuses those around her of what she believes to be true. Her accusations lead to the changing fates of those around her. She’s filled with guilt for causing such harm. 


The film begins in the countryside of an expansive estate. The sun is beaming down on green rolling hills, summer flowers, and the glistening water of a lake. With its bright meadows, the English countryside is backdropped by a rare bright blue sky. The estate’s tenants are bathing in the sun and swimming in the lake. Others are running in the fields of the floral array. It was all peace before the storm. The English countryside melts into the night while our tattle tale of a character (Briony) begins telling the untruth.


Night falls, and doom approaches. Chaos erupts. Scandals begin with love affairs, violence, and arrests, all spring out from her lies. These crimes have repercussions, and their effects ripple throughout the film. Briony must live with this fate, and the oncoming events of the Second World War worsen these wounds. 


There is a stark change in scenery once the movie fast-forwards into the Second World War. The wartime scenes are bleak, grey, and cold. The film’s environment has all the joy and colour wrung out as if that summer’s day had just been a long-awaited dream.


Portraying the consequences of Briony’s actions, the movie’s astute narrative structure presents a heart-breaking and subversive ending. Atonement is a modern, thought-provoking tragedy.


 


Green is not a commonly used colour in the prison thriller Shutter Island, directed by the legendary Martin Scorsese. Still, the few times it was used, it was done thoughtfully and ingeniously. 


Our main character, Teddy Daniels (played by Leonardo DiCaprio), is a U.S. marshal tasked with investigating the escape of one of the mental hospital’s patients on Shutter Island. When Daniels dreams of his dead wife throughout the film, green is in the background. The colour becomes more noticeable when he starts seeing his wife after a multi-day storm. Tree debris is all around him. Now, the meaning is revealed. Green is the sign of what is real, and the plot twist is shown through it. 


Through this colour, the movie tells us a story of what we need as humans. A reality, an identity. If who we are as humans is based upon dreams, our reality becomes confusing and challenged, proposing maybe our lives are just what we imagine.


Martin Scorsese’s masterful direction puts us through an immersive journey with cunning storytelling tricks and camera work. The smartfully induced immersion creates an atmosphere where you are one with Daniel’s understanding of the world and what you believe. You trust him and distrust whom he distrusts even when the evidence points to the opposite. But in the end, you want to separate yourself from Daniels. Shutter Island speaks to the human drive to always accept the reality we want, not the one we have. 




This may be the greenest movie on the list; however, it is too bad the director chose a black-and-white filter to put over the whole movie. Jokes aside, the black-and-white early 20th-century film aesthetic does not distract from the tension and pure mystery this film exudes. 


Set in 1940’s Britain during the Second World War a postman suffers a non life-threatening injury during an air raid. They subsequently die on the surgery table, but the procedure was meant to be straightforward. Foul play is afoot. The suspects? Three nurses, a surgeon, and an anaesthetist. As the movie unfolds a nurse gets killed, and another nearly dies of gas poisoning. The likely suspect is the anaesthetist.


In Green for Danger, green symbolises life painted over by black. Like a surgery room, the colour green, which is typically associated as a sign of safety, is turned on its head as an inspired indicator of death. The patients and the doctors thought they were safe, for they were not on the front lines of the world war, yet never were; there was always someone watching with a motive to kill. 


 


Full of cheesy lines, unbelievable stunts, and over-the-top acting, Predator is a cult classic for a reason. The movie makes you want to stand up, go “Hell yeah!” and hunt down an invisible alien in the Central American jungle. 


Waging through the jungle, our rag-tag group of muscled commandos are unafraid of the natural elements. Instead, they fear an invisible, unknown alien who scans them from afar with infrared eyes. The green jungle acts as a heavy, mysterious cloud. Within it lurks the Predator, stalking its prey. The thicker the jungle, the denser the mystery and panic. All the characters can do is hide.


Beware what lurks in the green of the jungle. You don’t catch the Predator; the Predator gets you.

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