Unsettled Christianity

Gloria Dei homo vivens – St Irenaeus
September 29th, 2015 by Joel Watts

Review of Eli Roth’s “The Green Inferno”

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The Green Inferno has a lot of meat on its bones

A friend of mine invited me to see The Green Inferno and I went. I might not have gone otherwise, and most likely would not have even watched it via Netflix a few months later. However, I am immensely glad I did, as it has given me a lot to chew on since Saturday.

Eli Roth is known for absolutely gross, such as the Hostel torture porn series (something I haven’t seen). The Green Inferno may move beyond those series, because we get to see the ingestion of humans by other humans, and not out of desperation.

By now, you should know the basic premise. College do-gooders go to the Peruvian jungle to save a tribe from annihilation by Western corporate interests. And you know that somehow they meet (meat?) cannibals. You can pretty much figure out the bloody rest. This movie is not for the feint of heart nor the sensitive ears. There is one brief shot of female nudity (breasts). The language is extremely rough, but when faced with cannibals, even the most pious amongst us would utter some rather harsh words.

[tweetthis]The Green Inferno is a morality play disguised as a pop culture phenomenon.[/tweetthis]

But, the abhorrent aspect of the film is not the first fleshy buffet — but the cathartic mirror this movie affords us. Roth is Plato’s fear and Aristotle’s champion. He forces us to come to terms with the questions we often dismiss with some sense of entitled foreknowledge. Of course we are the better culture, which is why we deem it our responsibility to save others. Sure, cannibalism is the harshest of human-on-human crimes and easily seen when one person consumes another and we know for  fact we in the enlightened West would never do such a thing. But, the question is deeper. Who says we, especially progressive do-gooders, are the better culture? Who says our very modern and Western crimes against one another — characters are routinely sacrificed by one central character in order to gain him notoriety and salvation. Finally, what is “good?”

One of the questions I keep hearing is, “when does a culture deserve to be wiped out?” Not the people — people can always be assimilated — but sometimes cultures must go.

The Green Inferno is one of those morality plays disguised as a pop culture phenomenon. It allows for its own self-interpretation, but be warned. If you see in it a racist story, this may speak more about you than the film, or the director. Rather, examine it next to the social causes today and what you find is a very Girardian tale. What you find is a mirror into the soul of the Western social conscious — and it will eat you alive.

This movie is highly recommended.

Joel Watts
Watts holds a MA in Theological Studies from United Theological Seminary. He is currently a Ph.D. student at the University of the Free State, analyzing Paul’s model of atonement in Galatians, as well as seeking an MA in Clinical Mental Health at Adams State University. He is the author of Mimetic Criticism of the Gospel of Mark: Introduction and Commentary (Wipf and Stock, 2013), a co-editor and contributor to From Fear to Faith: Stories of Hitting Spiritual Walls (Energion, 2013), and Praying in God's Theater, Meditations on the Book of Revelation (Wipf and Stock, 2014).

Comments

One Response to “Review of Eli Roth’s “The Green Inferno””
  1. I don’t want to sound self-righteous, but I don’t go to R rated movies. Only because I see enough bad stuff by simply watching the evening news. Plus, I checked “Rotten Tomatoes” on the film…
    A quote from someone’s review:
    “Fun for whole family – but only if it’s the Manson Family”

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