Written by J. Weagle
Now. Whatever you saw or did. Is no longer my concern. But let’s be clear. It won’t end well.
Way back in 2013 a young and upcoming director by the name of Jeremy Saulnier gave us Blue Ruin, a small independent film that felt as though it could have existed in the Coen Brothers film catalogue. Since then we have been waiting to see what Saulnier would do next, and what we got is an extremely tense film that is just as good, if not better then his previous.
Where as Blue Ruin was not a horror film, despite some intense scenes, Green Room is a very well put together thriller that soaks in its punk rock aesthetic to an honest degree. The film follows a down on their luck punk rock hardcore band on tour where they are struggling to make money and have even resorted to syphoning gas to get to their next gig. About to give up they hear about a show nearby that will pay them three hundred and fifty dollars with the only catch being it is at a bar where a group of Neo Nazi’s like to hangout. They accept the gig and play the show only to stumble upon a murder backstage in the green room as they are leaving. Now witnesses to the crime, and being held captive by the far right Neo Nazi’s they lock themselves in the room and have to fend for their lives.
Saulnier is quickly becoming known for his style which can only be compared to filmmakers of the 1970’s. He is not afraid to let mystery arise and the bluntness and calmness adds a certain realism often not found in this genre of films. Like Blue Ruin, this film finds spots of brilliance in its dark humour and characters that feel more fully fleshed out than they actually are. His ability to create tension and violence out of nowhere is not unlike how Tarantino uses violence in his films and Green Room continues this tradition. Unexpected characters will die suddenly making the film that much more fun to watch because you never really know who will make it out, or if anyone will at all.
The acting is incredible featuring some familiar faces such as the late Anton Yelchin (Star Trek), Alia Shawkat (Arrested Development), Imogen Poots (28 Weeks Later), and Patrick Stewart in a menacing villainous role we have never seen him play before. One of the best aspects of the film is how authentic everything feels and the fantastic casting and acting only help drive the authenticity home.
There’s not a whole lot to find wrong with Green Room, other then the fact that sometimes it lingers on certain scenes more then it should and some character decisions are questionable. It’s a low budget thriller that does what a good thriller should and keeps you on the edge of your seat, never fully aware of what act of violence will happen next. I can see how some may be turned off by its bluntness and the overwhelming feeling that the film is never catering to the audience. Green Room is here to tell us a story and show us some very gruesome things with that Hollywood shine nearly completely removed.