‘Green Room’ is one of my most anticipated films of the year due to the return of director Jeremy Saulnier. He is the director of the wonderfully crafted ‘Blue Ruin’ (2014) which is amazing to say the least. A band straying into a secluded part of the Pacific Northwest stumbles onto a horrific act of violence. Because they are the only witnesses, they become the targets of a terrifying gang of skinheads who want to make sure all the evidence is eliminated.
What sets Green Room apart from other slasher films is it’s economy of narrative. Not a single frame is wasted on unnecessary background, boring exposition dumps or contrived wrap-ups and explanations. Everything that can and should be known about the characters, and the story itself is implied visually. One could put the film on mute and still feel intimately involved with the band and grimly bracing for impending doom.
Though the plot may sound a bit silly, it most definitely isn’t. The neo-Nazis in this film are actually terrifying. They are ruthless cold people, however they are also hesitant. They know that the punk band can fight back, so caution must be taken. This shows that the people in this film are realistic. They fear, but they can also cause fear. That is also one of strong aspects of this film- realism. When things happen, there will be consequences. That also applies to gore. The gore will make you cringe. It’s realistic and they show you every little detail. When somebody gets injured, they suffer from that injury, making them weaker and easier to kill. The feeling that somebody may die any second creates some great tension.
“We’re not keeping you here, you’re just staying.”
Green Room wisely trades in Blue Ruin’s callous and quirky tension for a corrosive sense of dread that soaks through the story like an open wound. Performance wise this movie is really good. Yelchin’s recent demise makes his appearance in ‘Green Room’ all the more special, as well as saddening. He’s particularly remarkable here, enacting the heroic part, with absolute flourish. He was truly among the best of his generation & his untimely passing, makes his loss truly heartbreaking.
Patrick Stewart who does a fabulous job playing as the club’s owner. Unlike the majority of his underlings, who respond to the adrenaline poisoning their veins, Stewart’s Darcy is always collected. It’s as if he’s done this kind of thing before and has no compunction making a group of washout twenty-somethings disappear. Even if that means losing a couple of hungry pitbulls in the process. The movie brings to mind the best elements of Assault on Precinct 13 (1976) mixed with the dread of Halloween (1978) and visual leitmotifs that would have made Kieslowski smile.
There are some negative points, some of the dialogue is a bit weird at times. Members of the band say things no sane person would say in intense situations, for example: “Let’s split up! Alright good idea!” It may distract you sometimes, but overall it’s not the worst flaw in cinema history. Some minor editing issues are also present.
Overall there are still plenty of twists and turns the characters must go up against which only makes the movie all the more exciting. The general premise might sound tepid or simple but Saulnier knows exactly what he is doing and creates a ton of tension that more than makes up for the lack of a complex story. This is one of the years must see thrillers!