Review - 'Green Room'
Neo-Nazis seem to be getting a lot a screen time these days seeing as how they were the baddies in the latest 'Purge' film two weeks ago. They certainly do make for effective villains. Unfortunately I missed this film in theaters but caught it right when it came out on blu-ray. After viewing the film I can now say that I'm kicking myself for missing out on it. This is a nail-biting thrill-ride of a movie. It's also very unpredictable, which I loved. Oh, and did I mention brutal?
'Green Room' is directed by Jeremy Saulnier, who previously helmed the well-reviewed indie-thriller 'Blue Ruin'. The story follows a downtrodden punk-metal band that accepts a last-minute gig in the sketchy backwoods of Seaside, Oregon. Turns out this club they play at is filled to the brim with Neo-Nazi skinheads headed by Patrick Stewart. The guitarist of the band, played by the late Anton Yelchin witnesses a murder just as they're leaving. They're subsequently locked in a room and realize that the only hope of surviving is to fight their way out.
The film has a pretty simple premise. It's a premise that suits this film's aim perfectly, which is to provide tension, thrills and blood-and-guts. Jeremy Saulnier does an excellent job at building said tension and then paying those moments off with shocking bursts of violence. I never knew what was going to happen next or who was going to meet their fate, because it all seemed random and natural.
The performances in this film were spot-on. This is one of Anton Yelchin's final performances and it may also be one of his best, I was completely pulled into his character as he dealt with the horrors of his band's situation. It took me a few minutes to believe Patrick Stewart as leader of the skinheads, but I immediately came around to him once he started initiating some seriously devilish acts upon the innocent captives. Imogen Poots is no slouch either as she plays the savvy companion to Anton Yelchin. She's also a badass who gets the most cheer-worthy moments out of the bunch.
The film is impressive aesthetically too; the camera work and lighting is near-perfect. There's no obnoxious shaky-cam here and everything seems to be dripping in subtle tints of green. The action is also done in a very gritty yet tasteful way, showing every brutal moment but not lingering on it too long to the point where it feels like a fetish.
I don't want to say that this is one of the best thrillers I've ever seen because it doesn't do anything that's particularly revolutionary for the genre. It simply spins a relentlessly entertaining action-thriller yarn and calls it a night. 'Green Room' might not have left the biggest impression on me, but it was thoroughly enjoyable for the whole duration. I can also guarantee that unless you're the most jaded of film-goers, it will shock and surprise you. The resolution is also quite satisfying.
'Green Room' is a very well-executed and staged thriller with a lot to show but not as much to say. The film gets by on the strength of its simple premise, great camera work and convincing performances. I highly recommend watching this film if you consider yourself a fan of thrilling action and building tension that pays off. I will definitely be keeping my eye on what Jeremy Saulnier has to provide next.
Written by Rhys Paine on 7/14/16