Green Room (2016)
Director – Jeremy Saulnier
Writers – Jeremy Saulnier
Starring – Patrick Stewart, Anton Yelchin, Imogen Poots, Macon Blair
Rating – R
Genre – Thriller, Horror
Metascore – 79/100
Rotten Tomatoes – 89%
Over the course of about four years, I (Blake) was in a few hardcore bands that toured the surrounding states. We played in some serious holes in several small towns where we weren’t sure if we’d get paid, much less be able to find our way out (I’m looking at you Mena, AR). All that to say: I have lots of good memories from being on the road with a band. So when I saw the first trailer for Green Room, I was elated at the premise, and to see that it was directed by Jeremy Saulnier, who directed one of my tops from 2015 (Blue Ruin), only sweetened the pot. Well, friends, I saw it on a Friday and I’m still thinking about on a Monday. This film is going to stick with you.
On the surface, Green Room looks like just another slasher/thriller, but the unique talent of Jeremy Saulnier brings an acute realism to the film. This is the third installment in Saulnier’s spiritual trilogy (Murder House, Blue Ruin, Green Room) where inept and normal heroes are thrown into impossible situations and as an audience we watch them fail and succeed as they try to survive. The characters make dumb decisions, but who wouldn’t when locked in a room, threatened, and attacked by a gang of red-laced neo-Nazis? Their actions and motives are completely believable and allow the viewer to have a distinct and thrilling experience.
The writing and editing are superb; sitting at just 90 minutes this movie’s narrative is quick, brutal and thrilling, exactly like the punk music culture it portrays. It has a simple yet incredibly energizing plot that moves briskly while still allowing for moments of endearment with its characters and even a dash of humor. The suspense is as thick as molasses, and instead of cheap tactics that don’t pay off or jump-scares, the grisly finish line of all the tension is well worth its nauseating build-up. You will be utterly shocked by the gruesome images and visceral characters; again, every ounce of this film reflects the raw unpredictability of punk music. The acting, like the script, is refreshing against the overall backdrop—especially Macon Blair, who is a friend of Jeremy Saulnier and also the lead in Blue Ruin.
Of particular note are the cinematography and colors of this film. For such a grueling film, it is excellently paired with tasteful cinematography and hopeful bright colors, specifically the northwestern green. The only real critique for this film is a lack of screen time for Patrick Stewart. He delivers a cold and calculating performance, but there isn’t really a scene that sticks the landing for his character. All that aside, it captures the emotion and feeling of being in a band on the road and couples it with the utter helplessness of a situation that can only be categorized as a waking nightmare.
Authors – Jesse Ingram, Blake Burrough
499 rating – 8.6 / 10