Green Room (2016)

green room 2016 review

A couple of years ago, a filmmaker by the name of Jeremy Saulnier broke-out with a really excellent low-key film called Blue Ruin, which he made for 420,000 bucks. What was great about Blue Ruin was that it didn’t really have a lot of substance, but it was so well-constructed, visually engaging with such a subtle restraint for violence that you could tell immediately after seeing it, that Saulnier was a filmmaker to watch out for. I couldn’t wait to see what he did next.

Green Room happens to be what he did next, and it’s a film that firmly establishes Saulnier as as a fresh and fierce new voice who has more vision and focus with his third film, than most filmmakers have in their entire careers.

green-room-review 2016

The story is this: A struggling punk band who go by the name “The Ain’t Rights” are traveling through the Pacific Northwest. On one of their stops, they meet Tad, a local radio host who sets them up with a gig outside town. They arrive at the club, which they come to find out is actually a neo-Nazi skinhead bar located in the woods. What seems merely to be a third-rate gig escalates into something much more sinister when the band is witness to an act of violence backstage that they weren’t meant to see. Now trapped backstage, they find themselves facing off against the club’s depraved owner, Darcy Banker (Patrick Stewart), a man who will do anything to protect the secrets of his enterprise. But while Darcy and his henchmen think the band will be easy to get rid of, the band members prove themselves much more cunning and capable than anyone expected, turning the tables on their unsuspecting captors and setting the stage for the ultimate life-or-death showdown.

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Saulnier is a master craftsman of tension, and this film grabs you by the throat and never lets go. Green Room is a series of increasingly intense set-pieces broken by these, almost random outbursts of violence…that I have to say, were quite shocking.

The film is grisly and the film is gnarly, there’s no question about it. But whats so unique about it is the restraint Saulnier is able to conjure up yet again. There is a method to the madness, which isn’t something common for a genre film like this. So when the violence hits, you feel it. The film plays with horror tropes but never succumbs to them. I thought the characters all had a degree of three-dimensionality  to them, and instead of falling for some easy ways to move the plot, Saulnier was able to take the movie in a much more unexpected and more horrific direction as it progressed.
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There are fantastic performances all around here; watching Anton Yelchin in one of his last on-screen performances was undoubtedly quite sad, but at the same time some what bittersweet because of how good it was. As Pat, the reluctant leader of the band, I thought he gave a very sensitive and well-grounded performance. Imogen Potts, an actress I’ve found to be highly annoying in everything I’ve seen her in so far, was also surprisingly good. Macon Blair was also quite good, returning from his performance in Blue Ruin to play almost an equally fragile character and the only rootable member on the opposing side. But its Patrick Stewart’s brilliant performance as the club owner Darcy that’s without a doubt, the stand-out.
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Darcy is an outright achievement for Stewart, unlike anything he has done.  A cold blooded, methodical and remorseless man whose icy calm only adds to the insanity and sheer brutality of the experience.
Green Room has the feel of an early Tarantino, but also feels like something John Carpenter would have made in the 70’s, a vicious, backwoods genre flick. It’s a boiler-pot thriller in haze of punk rock and brutal violence, all captured by the unflinching and uncompromising of vision of writer/ director Jeremy Saulnier.

9.3/10

-Khalid

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21 responses to “Green Room (2016)

  1. Nice review man and you know how much I love this movie; definitely a top contender for being the best of the year. Saulnier’s really one of the best and most promising filmmakers working today; I can’t wait to see what he’s doing next.

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    • Thanks man. I promised myself I’d revisit your compilation of all those punk songs when I saw the film, and I plan to.
      And yeah man, absolutely blown away by Saulnier and his style and approach towards filmmaking. Like I said, he’s sch a fresh and fierce new voice.
      Can’t wait myself.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Anton Yelchin is so good in this movie. This might be the best performance of his short career, which only makes it more tragic. The progression of his character is very well done.
      Stewart is aces in this one. Absolutely steals the show.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This has been one of my favorite films I’ve seen this year. Just great all around, but you’re right, it’s sad now to think this is one of the last times we’ll see Yelchin in something new.

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    • Yes. Which only makes his superb performance in this film more tragic.
      I loved how well Saulnier was able to build up his character despite everything that he had going on.

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  3. Great post man. I need to watch it again but I really enjoyed it. I thought the war paint thing at the end was a bit lame, and I wasn’t really bowled over by Stewart as I was expecting to be, but for the most part I really liked it. Its my kinda music as well, look out for a post from me bout this one, would love to hear what you think mate, we seem to have very similar tastes

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    • We certainly do man! 😀 And will be looking forward to your post as well.
      The war paint is something I didn’t really take offence with, because it was such a minor moment that I guess I didn’t think about it much. But yeah music was fantastic, and I actually loved Stewart’s performance, and for me atleast, he was just as menacing as I hoped he would be.

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  4. I’m not sure I’ve seen any movies where Patrick Stewart played a villain, at least off the top of my head (although I think there was a video game he did). Sounds worth seeing just for him.

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    • Yeah it is. Though for me, the way Saulnier directed this movie was the best thing an just how every sequence plays out, but Stewart’s villainous turn is definitely enough of a reason to see this as well.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Pingback: Random Reflections #1 – First Reflection, Six Feet Under & Best of 2016 | The Blazing Reel·

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