MOVIE: GREEN ROOM
STARRING: ANTON YELCHIN; IMOGEN POOTS; PATRICK STEWART; ALIA SHAWKAT
DIRECTED BY: JEREMY SAULNIER
AMovieGuy.com’s RATING: 3 ½ STARS (Out of 4)
Green Room stays planted in the frontal lobes of your mind for a long time. Like a machete wedged in your neck, it sticks out, having all the features of an instant classic for the Tarantino audience, eating up all the bloody madness they can handle. Director/Writer Jeremy Saulnier has control of the steering wheel, cornering us into a room, to witness a twisted battle between a punk-rock metal band and Neo-Nazi’s at an isolated venue in the backwoods of Oregon. Green Room is full of adrenaline, an outstanding cast, and a pace that leaves you craving for more.
We open with a band living the road life. Talk about starving artists. Their van has veered off into a corn field, as Pat (Anton Yelchin) establishes himself as the tentative decision maker in the bunch. The rest of the group is made up of guitarist Sam (Alia Shawkat), drummer Reece (Joe Cole), and lead singer Tiger (Callum Turner). Together, they keep everything frugal, ciphering gas from other cars, having just enough cash from gig to gig, and sleeping late after long nights of drinking. The next stop is at the apartment of a mohawk sporting college radio host for an interview, where they are asked trivial questions like “name your desert island band” and offered a gig which earns them six bucks a person. In order to make things square for the time spent, our mohawk guy gets them a spot at a bar his cousin works at. One minor detail: It’s a Nazi skinhead bar.
The praise of Green Room all goes to director/writer Jeremy Saulnier. His 2013 indie-hit Blue Ruin was a sweaty blood soaked revenge story, catching the eyes of anyone who knows a great talent when they see it. His style is well crafted, as the setting of the bar creates a feeling of middle of nowhere isolation. You can sense the presence of Saulnier, standing by cinematographer Sean Porter, as they trace the camera around creepy-cool owner Darcy Banker (Patrick Stewart like you’ve never seen him before). And it’s the script that has a life of its own, as the group of Nazi’s have a code and dialect that is cult worthy. Darcy tells his loyal followers, “we are a movement, not a party”.
And with that, it is not truly till act three when the intensity turns up. Pat enters back into their dressing room to witness that a woman is dead on the floor and being an observer is just as good as trading places with the cold body before his eyes. This creates a stand-off between the quartet and amped up bigots ready to tear down the door. With new friend Amber (Imogen Poots) added to their side, giving what little support she can, what was just a quick show to earn back some cash, has turned into a living nightmare. They are trapped, in a windowless room, searching through floor boards to get out, while Darcy and his men prepare outside with dogs and guns. Limbs will be carved, blood is shed, but you never know what will happen next.
Green Room is a survival of the fittest tale, that in a way, represents a metaphorical fight to the finish between narrow minded republicans vs. the free-thinking new class of punks. Yelchin projects the wave of emotions in his performance and Stewart hacks off any gentle opinions you had about the Star-Trek Captain. And if one thing is apparent, it is the talent of Saulnier. You can hear the rumblings of big studio heads marching to his door to pitch the next box-office franchise. I certainly hope those offers receive a loud no. He shares the same skills of other current young hot-shots, such as Jeff Nichols, Ava Duvernay, and Damien Chazelle. You don’t just throw directors like these into the Hollywood machine. You let them flourish and see if they can become the next Scorsese. Either way, you will walk out of Green Room nodding your head and pumping your fist to one of the most intense trips to the movies this year. It rocks.
3 ½ STARS
Written by: Leo Brady