MOVIE REVIEW: Green Room

When a struggling yet promising punk rock band is let down on a gig they resort to taking a spot at a Neo-Nazi bar in order to pay for the rest of their trip.  After their set one of the band discovers that a groupie for the bigger band on after them has been murdered in the Green Room.

This is a perfect example of why I don’t want to watch trailers or know too much about films that I’m going to go see as a reviewer.  I listen to people talk about trailers, sometimes these people bitch and sometimes they praise, you can’t really avoid hearing about films in this job prior to going to see them.  I usually don’t sit down to watch a trailer, or buy a magazine (go to a website) to research a film, before going to see it.  There are very few pleasant surprises these days in life and little gems of movies like Green Room are one of those small pieces of wow left.  I want to be honest here and tell you that I find punk rock and the neo-nazi movement on the same level of pointlessness, but that’s me, I’m 40 going on 100.

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What I loved here is that feeling of John Carpenter’s 1970’s horror, my guilty pleasures of home viewing that still to this day send shivers down my spine, is that simple idea of people trapped being killed.  Just bring people to a house or a business and kill them one by one, sounds simple, but you’d be shocked, shocked I tell you, to know that most people can’t get that idea across on screen.  What sets Green Room above the norm is that we have performances from some great actors that you don’t normally have in slasher flicks.  Patrick Stewart stood out among the amazing here as the quiet owner of the bar and the leader of this band of merry fascists.  His calm performance is creepy and understated to the point that you think anyone could have played this role, why use him, because it takes an actor of his knowledge and understanding to get this controlled character down properly.  Imogen Poots plays the dead groupies friend who is just trying to get out of the room, and yet wants to rip all those responsible for her friends death apart, and has this slightly psychopathic tendency in her own character.  Macon Blair who blew me away with Blue Ruin stars as the bars manager who is trying to keep the situation from getting out of control before it all goes to hell, his character is perfect as the man who wants to fit in but you never feel he’s really part of the cause.  Anton Yelchin plays the guitar in the young punk band and I found him to be okay, I don’t have a problem with him, just haven’t been wowed by his performance when I know he has something special in his future.

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I had a little trouble hearing Patrick Stewart and a few other characters through the film, I didn’t know if I was struggling to hear or if there was a problem with the sound system in the cinema that we watched the film in.  It didn’t subtract too much from the experience but it was annoying as Stewart hatched his plan on how his bar and his movement was not going to be affected by the murder and the cover up.

For genre fans out there, who believed that there were no great genre movies left to come, and thought that slasher films like this could no longer be made, it’s a great thing to sit in a cinema once again and watch everything go from bad to worse.  Not knowing much about this film other than the title made everything that happened after the murder a total pleasure to watch, I know I’m talking about people being shot, stabbed, sliced open mauled by fighting dogs, and having limbs hacked to pieces, but we’ve all got our little guilty pleasures.  If you liked John Carpenters early work mixed with a liberal dose of punk rock and fascism then you can’t go far wrong with Green Room.

Director: Jeremy Saulnier
Writer: Jeremy Saulnier
Stars: Alia Shawkat, Imogen Poots, Anton Yelchin, Patrick Stewart

Trailer:

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