Green Room Movie Review
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There are certain actors that are difficult to imagine playing the convincing bad guy (or girl) in a movie. We, as fans, tend to put many actors into their own stereotypical boxes. Sometimes the actors are to blame due to the roles they continue to take. Others times however, it’s just a matter of these men and women giving such strong performances in previous roles that it’s almost impossible to imagine them in a different light. In my eyes, Patrick Stewart (X-Men, Star Trek: The Next Generation) fits perfectly into the category I just described. Green Room will forever change the way you see the man behind Professor Xavier and Jean-Luc Picard. Then, going forward, you’ll be keeping a keen eye on Stewart’s IMDb page eagerly awaiting an announcement of him accepting his next “gritty” role.
A young aspiring band traveling from small venue to small venue hoping to make a name for themselves, ends up in the wrong place at the wrong time. The group adjusts their plans by agreeing to play a last minute gig at a remote location in the middle of woods, for lack of a better term. If that doesn’t sound dicey enough, the people that frequent this bar/hall are mostly white supremacists. Yayyyyy… so continuing on with this plot that seems to become more harrowing as it goes, after playing their set list it’s time to get paid and get the heck outta Dodge. Even that seemingly trivial task doesn’t go off without a major hitch. One of the band members witnesses something not meant to be seen, thus setting off a bloody nightmare-ish chain of events. In an instant Green Room is now a story of survival.
A green room by definition is a place where performers can relax before or after giving their all on stage. If those walls had eyes and ears one could only imagine the stories to be told. Well imagine no more because Green Room gives audiences a glimpse into one such area, and what is witnessed will send chills down your spine. Director Jeremy Saulnier goes all out to capture the uneasiness of being trapped in an uncontrollable life or death situation where tension reigns supreme. The locale chosen only helps boast that feeling of impending doom, which is inevitable by the way. Saulnier also nails it his casting and the way he utilizes the talent.
Starring in Green Room as the four bandmates of punk rock group “The Ain’t Rights” are Anton Yelchin (Chekov from the latest Star Trek franchise) as Pat, Alia Shawkat (The To Do List (2013), Arrested Development) as Sam, Joe Cole (Peaky Blinders) as Reece and Callum Turner (Victor Frankenstein (2015)) as Tiger. The biggest name, and arguably the best performance, is Sir Patrick Stewart who continues to redefine the public’s perception of him. As the sole owner and proprietor of the neo-Nazi skinhead establishment where the movie jumps off the rails, Darcy (Stewart) proves to be a force to be reckoned with. All of the acting performances are done in a frantically believable way. Audiences will quickly connect and identify with the trials and tribulations that are to follow.
Let There Be Rock, that’s a tune performed by AC/DC. It should come as little surprise that there will be rock in a movie about a rock band. What is surprising is how little of it you actually hear. Aside from the The Ain’t Rights doing a cover of Dead Kennedys “Nazi Punks F*ck Off” which is pretty comical given the audience in which they’re performing it for, Saulnier decides to take a more muted approach by literally muting the metal and replacing it with a slowed instrumental score that allows viewers to focus on what’s seen rather than what’s heard. This is presumably done to allow a more “mainstream” audience to not be overwhelmed and possibly turned off by the harder metal. Regardless of the motivation behind the move, the effect works. Let there be violence! Yes there is a lot of that and some of it is right up in your face with no punches pulled so be warned. Or be excited, depending on your cinema tastes.
Green Room is definitely not for everyone, yet surprisingly because of how well it’s written and how engaging it is, fringe fans of the genre should enjoy this more than they thought they might. Hat’s off to the efforts put in by both the cast and crew. With the smaller budget and little fanfare, it won’t set the box office ablaze but that doesn’t make it any less of a quality experience. Any fan of thrilling horror movies shouldn’t have to think twice about seeing this. As for the other folks, I say give it a chance because you might surprise yourself.