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Green Room Review

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After making his debut in 2007 with Murder Party, Indie director Jeremy Saulnier rose to prominence with the critically lauded revenge thriller Blue Ruin (which is rather excellent and you should track it down right now). Now, he’s back with Green Room, a movie that uses its basic premise, a punk band takes on a group of neo-Nazis skinheads, to build a terrifyingly tense, ultra violent siege movie that will stay with you for days.


Pat (Anton Yelchin), Sam (Alia Shawkat), Reece (Joe Cole) and Tiger (Callum Turner) are The Ain’t Rights, a travelling punk band desperate for any type of paying gig, who are set up with a gig in an isolated backwoods neo-Nazi bar just outside Portland, Oregon. Despite opening with a cover of the Dead Kennedy’s 'Nazi Punks Fuck Off’, everything goes well for them until Pat stumbles upon a murder in the establishment's green room. Held against their will, the bar’s owner Darcey (Patrick Stewart) decides the only course of action is to eliminate them, setting in motion a desperate battle for survival.

Stripped down and almost uncomfortably grimy, Green Room is a masterclass in tension, punctuated with acts of supreme violence that will make the most hardened person cringe in disgust. In the hands of any other person, this could have easily become just another splatastic gorefest, but Saulnier keeps a tight rein on proceedings, letting his smartly written script do the lion’s share of the work. Each scene is expertly constructed to twist the screws further and further, meaning that by the time the first depraved act meted out you are so harried that you will jump out of your skin at the slightest noise. There’s a rich vein of ultra black humour that works in tandem with the claustrophobic settings, both the green room and the isolated woods the bar is nestled in the middle of, and they go a long way to instill in you a growing sense of unease, and as the both the The Ain’t Rights and their captors become more and more desperate, you’ll be left a frantic mess by the time the story comes to a head. Admittedly, the narrative falters somewhat in the finale, losing a bulk of the tension and being a tad too predictable, but does nothing to hurt what is well crafted thriller from start to finish.


A great script is nothing without the cast to do it justice, and again Saulnier has knocked it out of the park with this ensemble. Yelchin proves once again the Indie scene is where he belongs. Not to belittle his foray into big blockbusters, but something smaller and more stripped down let him shine the brightest, and his desperation and nerviness acts as an anchor to proceedings. The rest of the cast, especially Shawkat and Imogen Poots, are similarly on point, but the minute you see his boots hit the ground as he exits his car, Patrick Stewart commands your attention as the soft spoken, evil incarnate Darcey. It’s easy to see he is relishing the chance to be a bad guy, and his unflinching calmness in the face of the escalating chaos is completely unnerving.

Not for the faint of heart, Green Room is a superbly crafted thriller that won’t fail to leave you a nerve wracked mess when the end credits roll.








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The Movie Bit: Green Room Review
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