If one seeks a change from the endless parade of zombies and paranormal terrors flicks, then seek out director and writer Jeremy Saulnier’s latest creation, known for his stellar revenge movie Blue Ruin (2013), presents a tense and suspenseful cat and mouse film called Green Room. This time the tale comes from a clever screenplay and delivering on rich visuals and creating a violent tale of survival and raw emotions of love and hate, yet just touching a bit of grindhouse, yet never slipping into the slime, with horrific moments woven into a thrill ride. It is a movie that generates an interest in all cinematic fans, as fame actor Patrick Stewart presents himself in a vastly different character, and shows a bit of the seedy side of starving punk musician one of them Anton Yelchin. This is the last feature film released before Anton freakish death on June 19, 2016 just over a tad month later.
The film starts with an uninteresting beginning, with a punk band on the road of hell, struggling to do whatever is necessary for their unique musician unwilling to comprise ideals and music, and yet this opening volley still contains the charm to hook the viewer. Perhaps this is because of Jeremy’s previous films, having the slow burn to them, and knowing the ratcheting up of a very good story lies ahead. One needs to note, or those outside of the music industry or in general, the green room is a technical term for the waiting area for either the band or guest, and in this case, it becomes more of a prison versus a final stronghold. Yelchin (Pat) performs in The Ain’t Rights band, which is nearing the end of tour filled of hardship and heartaches, empty pockets, dreams, promises and gas tanks, yet still striving with dedication. When their latest gig vanishes after no fault of their own, another gig of dangerous portions presents itself and in lies the turmoil and drama, all tighten as they travel to off beaten club, hidden in the woods favor by skinheads. Soon enough all hell breaks loose, and ensuing battle of wits and strength in numbers begins with Stewart (Darcy) and his misguided men, especially a talented Macon Blair (Gabe) versus the band and acquaintances. The bloodshed starts as a version of Assault on Precinct 13 (1976) plays out with causalities on both sides, though the rest of band works very well Reece, Sam, and Tiger portrayed respectively by Joe Cole, Alia Shawkat, and Callum Turner with an assist from serious warrior Amber (Imogen Poots). Although everyone in the cast brings the A-game, the presence of Yelchin, showing the trait of wildcard, with a tad of unsureness that reflects back to his role on Criminal Minds “Sex, Birth, Death” episode. However, the masterful performance shines through with Stewart, his talents learned in theater to first step onto the set, mental intimidation oozes quietly from within, not speaking a word owns the scene. A commanding allegiance to his cause and understanding the situation in the fewest words possible, calmness brings eeriness to the moments unfolding on the screen. Patrick Stewart stated in several interviews about this character, “…wanted to play Darcy a character that horrifying … an incredible challenge and make for a compelling film.”
After the first act finishes, the rest of film spins violently out of control, yet Saulnier controls the pacing, and the suspense, aiding in a brooding and bloody chaos, all with a believable realism, that engages the audience very well. The mounting army of skinheads, vicious attack dogs, blunt weaponry and more pressure adding to both sides, with wonderful flashes of nightmarish imagines. Each side generates a form of military counter punches, and with repercussions dealing blows more incredible than before, and yet still knowing to provide more depth for the viewers to fear and stay glued to the screen. This all provides wonderful cinematography and the editing gives the right cord of tension to propel the film forward.
Green Room truly captures a realistic portrayal of all parties, nothing over the top or too far out the normal, the attitudes of the neo-Nazis and the Darcy character shows a higher level thinker, not a man acting on emotions, but rather the intelligence, in wonderful character depth preparations from the screenplay a lesson for actors and writers. Meanwhile, the blood and chaos spills from all the corners, giving more disturbing moments, and even balance of survival instinct and less on the drivel of soulful moments, the tight action scenes provide all the grip the viewers need for this film.