Green Room is an incredibly well made Punk Rock thriller that is one of those films that the cast and trailer along give the impression it’ll be good, but by the time it’s over and the credits roll you’re leaning over to the person next to you saying, “dang that was good.” The cast is outstanding, led by Anton Yelchin, Imogen Poots, Alia Shawkat, Joe Cole, Callum Turner, and Patrick Stewart. The tension is real, and it takes little time to discover that things are going quickly from bad to worse.
Written and directed by Jeremy Saulnier, the film follows a garage-level punk band, the Ain’t Rights, arrive to take a gig only to find it’s been cancelled. The promoter tells them that he has a cousin that will give them a gig that’ll get them enough money to at least get back home. They arrive to discover that they’ve been sent to a remote white-power/neo-Nazi club in the wilds of Oregon. The band does the gig and while it’s tense, they get through it and the crowd gets into the performance. All good and well and it’s time to leave when one of the band goes back in and discovers one of the women from the club murdered. The rest of the club’s goons aren’t too happy with the discovery and the band barricades themselves into the green room.
It’s a straightforward enough plot – they’re cornered and just want to get out and away. There’s skinhead soldiers everywhere that would prefer they not escape with the news of what they’ve seen. It might seem too small of a space to unpack a full 95 minute long thriller, but Stewart who honed his skills through his kickstarter-funded 2013 film, Blue Ruin, keeps the focus on the characters. Nearly everyone plays out their parts feeling natural rather than contrived. Stewart as the patriarch of the supremacists is superb as a villain. Between his performance and John Goodman’s from 10 Cloverfield Lane, it’ll be a hard call for who exudes menace and ice-cool control the better.
The traditional formula of who will likely make it out versus who bites it is turned upside down rather early on. In the modern Game of Thrones vogue, we quickly realize that no one is safe and the tension kicks in early and stays going all the way till the final scene.
If you want a tense thriller with some Dead Kennedy’s thrown in for god measure, head on out and see this one with a crowd.
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