From a review of The Green Chain in The Vancouver Courier from our western Canadian premiere at The Vancouver International Film Festival.
All seven characters in this docu-drama by Vancouverite Mark Leiren-Young claim to love trees—and surely they all do. But their perspectives on BC’s forestry industry vary as much as their positions in life. A second-generation logger, granny protester, underemployed firefighter, cause-championing star, naïve tree-sitter, First Nations forestry executive and long-suffering diner waitress deliver engaging monologues that lay out their views, movingly and convincingly. The technique pulls viewers into their emotional spheres, leading us to abandon presumptions or at least recognize the complexity of the situation. Standout performances include Scott McNeil as a baffled logger facing the realities of less work and fewer trees, and noted stage actress Jillian Fargey as his burdened wife, whose diner job and reflections on family and community reveal the human cost of changing times. Local up-and-coming actor Brendan Fletcher is also delightful as tree-occupying Dylan, babbling to his handicam 100 feet up a cedar. Leiren-Young’s strong and nuanced writing pinpoints these varied personalities, and his background in comedy injects levity (where appropriate) into a generally sombre subject. There may be no easy outs, the film implies, but a good debate can’t be off the mark.