Starring: Patrick Stewart, Anton Yelchin, Imogen Poots, Joe Cole, Alia Shawkat & Callum Turner
Written By: Jeremy Saulnier
Directed By: Jeremy Saulnier
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After witnessing a shocking crime, a young punk band is unexpectedly thrust into a life-or-death battle to escape the clutches of a diabolical club owner and his ruthless neo-Nazi henchmen.
“Green Room” stars Patrick Stewart as said diabolical club owner and the role is a departure from playing the good guy on Star Trek: The Next Generation and in the X-Men movies. This isn’t the first time that Sir Patrick Stewart has thrown off the good guy shoes. He’s played everyone’s favorite hater of Christmas, Ebenezer Scrooge but also starred as a more psychological villain in “Conspiracy Theory” way back in 1997. As with just about anything Patrick Stewart takes on, he manages to nail the role perfectly. While the smartest man among a bunch of neo-Nazi Neanderthals can be compared to the sharpest bowling bowl on the rack, Stewart adds a mix of eerie calm and unpredictability to the role of Darcy Banker. When his character first appears in the movie, he’s already plotting and scheming in preparation of whatever his wicked plan may be.
The story of “Green Room” follows a band of hardcore punk rockers that travel around in their beat up van, as most punk bands do, going from show to show until one of their shows gets unexpectedly cancelled. Feeling bad for the band, the promoter of that show tells the band that he can hook them up with a decent paying show…the only problems being that it’s way out in the country…and that it’s a neo-Nazi skinhead bar. Needing money to get back to the East Coast, the band reluctantly agrees to take the show. Showing up wearing Minor Threat and Dead Kennedys shirts, the band can tell that they’re not welcome from the get-go, but they get set up and take the stage. Not helping out their cause, they kick off their set with the Dead Kennedys “Nazi Punks Fuck Off”. Now that’s punk rock!
After their set, one of the band members accidently stumbles upon a murder scene and the band is rounded up and forced to hole up in the green room backstage. Knowing that there is going to be trouble since everyone is trying to cover up the murder, the band along with a friend of the victim struggle to escape the club with their lives.
What struck me the most about “Green Room” is that it is a very frightening and down-to-earth setting that is all too common for punk bands on the road. It’s a scene that is all too common, especially in my neck of the woods. Just about anyone that has ever been to a punk rock show in a dive bar in the middle of nowhere has had the unfortunate opportunity of running into neo-Nazi assholes. If you don’t piss off the skinheads, then you’re not doing it right.
Now imagine yourself surrounded by those assholes that you pissed off with your back up against the wall and an army of white power mongers right outside of your door. That’s what makes “Green Room” so thrilling. Coming up in the punk rock scene years ago, Jeremy Salunier adds that sense of spot-on realism to not only the music, the look of the skinheads and of the bands, but also to the attitude and demeanor of the neo-Nazis right down to the earning of their red laces. There are also no over-the-top horror scenes or idiotic actions from the members of the band. They’re scared and on their own in a hostile environment. The build up from scene to scene is grounded in reality but the consequences still give you a little of that campy horror movie blood and gore.
I didn’t have too many gripes with “Green Room” but the one thing that stood out to me at times were the addition of plot points that didn’t really seem to go anywhere as well as certain elements of the story that weren’t well explained. It also seemed that, if the skinheads really wanted to end things quickly, they could have done so within the first five minutes of the band being locked in the green room. It only took someone a few seconds to get past the lock on the door in the movie anyway.
While “Green Room” won’t be lumped into the same category as greats such as “The Shining” or “The Exorcist”, it doesn’t need to be. It was a well thought out and realistic isolated thriller with a great cast, kick ass soundtrack and a little dose of B-movie campiness and gore. Patrick Stewart and the late Anton Yelchin were the stars of the show but the rest of the cast played their parts well given the uncomfortable subject matter that they had to evoke with their characters. If you’re looking for something a little different than your run-of-the-mill horror slashfest or booby-trapped holding room horror movies, then “Green Room” may be just what the murder doctor ordered.
Audio Commentary with writer/director Jeremy Saulnier
“Into The Pit: Making Green Room” Featurette
1080p High Definition 16×9 Widescreen (2.40:1)
English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio
English SDH, Spanish Subtitles
Bottom Line: It’s punks vs skins round 1 in this isolated psychological horror thriller which features a star-studded cast, a story grounded in realistic situations as well as some killer hardcore punk tracks.
Running Time: 95 Mins