Writer- Director Jeremy Saulnier’s Green Room is a fantastically twisted, brutal, pulse-pounding thriller that will leave audiences speechless. Green Room is the type of thriller that doesn’t just go for the throat; it seeks to capture the mind and succeeds in spades.
What was noticeable right off the bat was just how much time Saulnier spends introducing his main characters. Pat (Anton Yelchin), Sam (Alia Shawkat), Reece (Joe Cole), and Tiger (Callum Turner) are part of a punk rock band known as the “Ain’t Rights.” The Ain’t Rights gives off the impression they’ve have had a following for a while now but have yet to hit it “big.” It appears the group is very interested in keeping it “real,” refusing social media. They also refuse to pay for gas, so they choose to siphon. They aren’t selling out.
After a show that promised to pay “big bucks” falls through, the band is booked at a gig where they will be playing to some rough and tumble skinheads in the middle of the woods. Now, if it were me, I certainly would have had a conversation with the band about making sure we played songs that didn’t incite the crowd. Hell, I wouldn’t be there in the first place, call me crazy. The Ain’t Rights had other ideas, kicking off their set with the Dead Kennedys’ “Nazi Punks F- Off.”
That is when all hell breaks loose. Violence explodes all over the club: temple stabbings, killer attack dogs, and gunshots ring out. Darcy (Patrick Stewart), the owner of the club and the leader of the “White Pride” movement, enters the story and attempts to restore order. Faced with the prospects of his whole empire being exposed, Darcy orders his followers to get rid of these witnesses (The Ain’t Rights), by any means possible.
Saulnier tackles the know it all millennial disposition in Green Room. This group of twenty-somethings certainly think they have it all figured out. Even when it’s evident the odds of their survival are slim, they still believe they can talk their way out of the Neo-Nazi bar. the ones that do survive only make it by relying on the help of others (very anti-millennial behavior).
Saulnier also touches on the blind faith followers have no matter what the cause. It’s astonishing to bare witness to grown men agreeing to commit every atrocity Darcy ordered in the name of his “White Pride” movement. It certainly spoke to the lack of thought most people in these groups display when they simply just buy into an ideology (no matter how awful it might be). Does that sound familiar? Check out CNN sometime.
Patrick Stewart’s performance was very even tempered, and that added a layer of authenticity to the performance. It was cool, cold, and in many ways heartfelt (which is very odd for me to say even). Darcy truly believed in his “White Power” movement and in the actions that he took to ensure his group’s survival, no matter how brutal.
REVIEW: Green Room
Who: With Patrick Stewart and Anton Yelchin.
Directed by Jeremy Saulnier.
Rated: R (for strong brutal, graphic violence, gory images, language and some drug content).
Running time: 95 minutes.