A heavy-metal band wake up in a field of maize, having fallen asleep at the wheel and having run out of gas. The band prove to be somewhat drifters, close to calling it quits as they struggle to cover the cost of petrol. Desperate for cash, the group agree to perform at a dingy venue inhabited by skinheads and white supremacists. When the band witness a gruesome act of violence, they find themselves trapped in a game of cat and mouse as the perpetrators attempt to hide all evidence. Director Jeremy Saulnier impressed both fans and critics with the intense Blue Ruin and returns with a film that is somewhat inferior but equally nasty. Macon Blair, the striking lead actor from Saulnier’s previous masterpiece, returns in Green Room alongside a collection of remarkable young talents. They include Arrested Development‘s Alia Shawkat and Star Trek‘s Anton Yelchin both of whom are more than up for the task at hand. The band begin a stand-off with the tenants by barricading themselves in. The tension slowly begins to ramp up when the venue owner and neo-nazi movement leader arrives, played impeccably by Patrick Stewart.
Green Room suffers from being much more conventional and predictable than Blue Ruin. It shares its predecessor’s grit and nastiness but isn’t as daring in technique or style. Green Room is the kind of film that really makes you aware that you’re watching an 18 rated movie. The gore is full on and, once the battle commences, utterly relentless but is well balanced with sharp cinematography and use of light. The film’s best quality is the way it displays the tactics of both parties. Trapped inside the rabbit hole, the band search for alternative escape routes and potential opportunities to dash for freedom. The building itself becomes central to the film, creating a suffocating atmosphere within which the pressure quickly rises. Imogen Poots’ performance is a tad distracting, as is her dodgy 80s hair-do, and there are characters and areas of the narrative that deserved more development and explanation; other than that, there’s little to complain about. Patrick Stewart’s performance is commanding and captivating, reminiscent of Bryan Cranston as the infamous Heisenberg. Green Room more than satisfies the needs of its target audience with an aggressive soundtrack to accompany the gory imagery and narrative intensity it possesses. Green Room brings intelligence to the slasher genre with its focus on the tactics being used by both predator and prey.
Thanks for reading and let’s all keep supporting our beloved film industry.