After a punk rock band plays a set at a Neo-Nazi bar, they are forced into survival mode after witnessing a murder.
Director: Jeremy Saulnier
Cast: Anton Yelchin, Imogen Poots, Alia Shawkat, Callum Turner, David Thompson, Patrick Stewart, Macon Blair
MPAA Rating: R for strong brutal graphic violence, gory images, language and some drug content
Fun Fact: After reading the script, Patrick Stewart turned on his security system, locked his doors, and poured himself a drink. He liked the idea of the challenge of playing a horrifying character and making a compelling film out of it.
Green Room is a film from one of my favorite film studios’, A24. It is one of those independent features that took my interest due to the fact that you would not really see something like this promoted through a big Hollywood studio. The subject matter can be a controversial one due to the fact that it features Neo-Nazi skinheads and that has been a big topic in the news the last few years. So, you could see why a big Hollywood studio might not want to take a gamble with it. The real big selling point of the film is the fact that Sir Patrick Stewart is in an independent feature and is the lead villain. Wrap your head around that one if you can.
The film is a dark and stylish feature that has many white-knuckle moments throughout. A major theme is claustrophobia as the location is in a small bar with not much to it. There is only one way in and out so if you are in trouble, it will be hard to escape if need be. This brings moments of tension where the characters are in trouble and are confined to a small area that is their only hope for safety. We get to know these characters and we want to them to succeed in staying alive due to the fact that they did not need to be in the situation that they are in. They stumble upon an incident and they are forced to get into survival mode. With all these elements put together, we get a well-crafted film that is full of suspense having you at the edge of your seat wanting to see more.
Throughout the film we get some effective but brutal scenes. This film is not for the faint of heart and with good reason. The makeup effects are fantastic and realistic. There is a scene that something happens to a character’s arm. The look of the makeup is done well to the point that it made me squirm. I had not squirmed like I did in a movie in quite a long time. One thing that does not really work is that in some of the scenes the lighting in pretty poor and it is hard to see what is going on in the dark. There are scenes involving dogs attacking the characters. While those are hard to watch, and it is understandable due to the nature with certain things involving animals on screen. It was fine when they had to make cuts or have to dim the lights, but there was probably some special effect makeup that would have been neat to see, and we did not get to see that in the aftermath. The camera work is also effective as we get clean shots of action even shots of hallways that make the viewer uneasy.
For a movie like this we get decent performances. The late Anton Yelchin dials in a fine performance in one of his last roles. I will always remember him in this role, and I felt awful what his character went through in the movie. Yelchin is believable and when he is scared and feeling pain, I believe it. Imogen Poots is also great, and you question if she is really trying to help the band members or not. She has a shade of grey to her so to speak in her allegiance. Patrick Stewart as the lead villain was interesting to say the least. We always view Stewart as a good and kindly figure who reads Shakespeare sonnets on Instagram. He is also known as hero character in his roles. This is the first and only time I really have seen in a bad guy role. The challenge paid off as his character is sadistic and violent. While Stewart does not have a huge amount of screen time, he brings the presence that this film needed. He is the selling point of the film, and he sold me to watch it.
Overall, Green Room is a well-paced thriller that has moments of effective violence. Some of the stuff may be hard to watch for some, but those who want to give it a shot I recommend that they do. Director Jeremy Saulnier gives a literal thrill ride through the performances and effective special effects makeup. He also has a script with key ingredients that make it work. It has white-knuckle tension through out and characters that you care about. Throw in some fine performances from the whole cast and you have a well-paced movie that does not let up. The only gripe I really had with it was that some of the scenes were a little too dark to see anything, but it does not break the film one bit.
Wife’s Verdict: Hit She has seen this film a few times and really enjoyed it.