Green Room, directed by Jeremy Saulnier, is the story of a punk band on the road. Broke and looking for a gig to keep them going after someone lets them down, they’re recommended to play a show in a dodgy part of town that becomes more sinister than they could ever have expected. Getting caught up in violence and terror, they have to fight their way out of a neo-Nazi nightmare.
Starring Patrick Stewart as the far right group’s leader, Anton Yelchin as the band member in charge and Imogen Poots as a girl caught up in this murderous turn of events, Green Room is a punchy little film with as much attitiude as the songs that starring band ‘The Ain’t Rights’ perform on stage.
It’s short, around ninety minutes, and this lends itself well to keep the film pacey and maintain a sense of momentum; something so easily lost on these kind of siege/escape films that can often see a decrease in drama once we’re familiar with their trapped situation. Keeping things moving along quickly does well to give a sense of discomfort and tension, which does become heightened as you realise the horror of the situation the band has found themselves in, but seems to dissipate fairly quickly in the closing act as the threat they’re up against seems to mostly vanish.
There’s gruesome deaths and injuries galore, which you kind of want – if the movie had backed out of these, the shock value would definitely have decreased – and the way we see the characters develop more primal instincts and taste for warfare leads to an interesting switch in power throughout the story.
Yelchin (who tragically passed away in 2016) is definitely the stand out in terms of performance, perfectly and subtly depicting someone committed to the music, a gentle soul who is convincingly terrified at his situation but, at first at least, still hoping to see the good in people. Imogen Poots plays Amber, a suspicious stranger who comes together with the band to try and fight their way to freedom, and does a good job too. Whilst Patrick Stewart is reliable and a little bit menacing, we reckon he could have had more room to go into full on villain mode.
We’re giving ‘Green Room’ three stars – it’s a thoroughly entertaining and enjoyable ride in a suitably dingy atmosphere, and everyone involved does well given the structural limits of this type of film, but it’s not one to leave a lasting impact.
Watch Patrick Stewart get his Nazi on in the trailer below…