Everything's Gone Green Review: Lightly Humorous and Worthwhile
by Alex Billington
April 12, 2007
After Sundance, I've been yearning for another great sleeper-hit independent film to share with the world. After I first heard of Everything's Gone Green, I really thought it could be the one, and honestly, it almost met my expectations. Vastly ahead of any independent film I've seen this year, Everything's Gone Green is a very interesting and incredibly well-done comedic outlook on one man's life in Canada, and it may even force you to look at your own life in a new way.
Ryan (Paulo Costanzo) is a good-natured slacker who loses his job, his girlfriend, and just about everything else in the first few minutes of Everything's Gone Green - comedically, of course. When his parents think they won the lottery, Ryan calls the lottery office and learns that his parents didn't actually win. Ryan, though, is offered a job by the lottery office's boss, who reminds me of J. Jonah Jameson from Spider-Man. Ryan starts working as one of the star employees at the lottery office and interviews and takes photos of the winners for their magazine. Ryan himself is such a down-to-earth and resilient person that he can easily look past the lottery winning hype and just live his own life cheerfully as it happens. As the story progresses, he realizes everyone he meets and knows, from his boss to his scheming brother to a female acquaintance and her boyfriend to even his parents are all obsessed with obtaining more money, and realizes he may be caught up in it himself.
There are so many crazy occurrences in Everything's Gone Green and the story just gets crazier at every turn, but this is no farce. It's vastly ahead of any other independent film, and it is vastly improved by being an independent creation with as much passion from everyone involved. Although it really struck a note with me, the story took a bit too long to build into its core, which involves marijuana growing (another bit of green), and which by the end petered out into a lackluster finale.
The real gem in Gone Green is Paulo Costanzo as Ryan. He gave one of the most convincing and realistic performances I've seen in a long while. It feels like Costanzo really is Ryan and that we're watching a chronicle of a real person, like Jon Heder in Napoleon Dynamite but without the inevitable typecasting to follow. What he brought into this was so genuine that I hardly remember the performances from any of the other supporting actors. It was a one-man show and Costanzo delivered it with as much fervor and flavor as an Oscar winning performance. If this doesn't boost his recognition in the film industry, then I'm not doing my job well enough getting enough people out there to see it.
If you're interested in an exquisite independent feature with fine filmmaking, then check out Everything's Gone Green. It's simple and lightly humorous, entertaining and enjoyable, and a worthwhile experience that will get you to reconsider your own take on life. It isn't a perfect film and doesn't have the "meat" that makes up a real masterpiece, but it is an independent film you won't ever forget when you see it.