Green Room surpassed any and all expectations I had. At the conclusion of the movie, I was speechless for a minute. After decompressing a little, the first words I uttered were, “Holy Shit that was fucking awesome!” Those are the best words to describe this movie, “fucking AWESOME”. The solid gold story, the talented cast, and the fierce violence made this the best that film director Jeremey Saulneir has put out to date– and honestly, it’s the best film I’ve seen all year.
The story starts out with our struggling punk band– The Ain’t Rights– made up of a group of four friends touring the Pacific North West who are on their way to a show somewhere in Oregon. After traveling 90 miles, they unfortunately find out their gig was cancelled last minute. Looking to make amends, the gig promotor, a college kid with a sweet Mohawk, books them a gig at a White Supremacist music venue where his cousin works. Once at the gig, tension begins to build up– especially after Pat, the bassist (played by Anton Yelchin), suggests to start the set off with a cover of Dead Kennedys “Nazi Punks Fuck Off”. The crowd obviously does not take kindly to this, but as the set progresses, they begin to brush it off and end up enjoying the band. After they break down their equipment, they start to be escorted out of the venue until Sam, played by Alia Shawkat, realizes she forgot her cell phone back in the green room where the band was hanging out before the set. Pat volunteers to go back and get the phone and barges into the room, grabs the phone and as he’s walking out notices a dead girl on the floor and three very scary looking skinheads looking back at him. The entire band gets stopped and get escorted back to the green room where unbeknownst to them, they are about to enter a hellish nightmare.
I definitely have to start off by praising the work of all the actors involved in this film, and especially the work of the group of actors in the band. Yelchin, Shawkat along with Joe Cole and Callum Turner, who play Reece (Drummer) and Tiger (Lead Singer) respectively, create a fantastic portrayal of the poor-as-shit punk rocker characters living for the music. The film does a successful job at making sure you care for these characters, having given the bunch enough screen time and dialogue to make an impact. When the chaos commences, you get to the heart of these four bandmates, showing how solid the character development is in this film. The main antagonist, Darcy, excellently acted by Sir Patrick Stewart, is a cold-blooded, calculating, general figure. Sir Patrick brings a bravado to the role that is immediately felt when his character steps onto the scene. The gun negotiation sequence showcases the acting chops of these actors. Yelchin and Stewart specifically share some intense back-and-forth in this scene that will give you chills. You also get an awesome performance from Imogen Poots, who plays Amber, the dead girl’s friend and from Macon Blair, who plays Gabe, a member of the movement trying to please Darcy.
The violence in this movie is realistic, spontaneous and primal. Definitely not for the faint of heart. Director Jeremy Saulneir does a great job in making the violence appropriate and not over the top. Unfortunately for those at the receiving end, certain stipulations make the kills sooo fucking dope. The visual effects team must’ve had a great time with this one. It’s no Tokyo gore fest, but the VFX team did a heck of a job in making us cringe. I won’t say much else about the kills as to not spoil anymore, but I will say this– if you have to take a box cutter to a dude’s gut to find out if he’s dead, that’s fucking hardcore.
Go watch Green Room! The movie is one heck of a thrill ride. Once the action starts you will be at the edge of your seat until the credits role. //Arturo Padilla