GREEN ROOM [2015]

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Directed by Jeremy Saulnier

Written by Jeremy Saulnier

Starring: Anton Yelchin, Imogen Poots, Alia Shawkat, Macon Blair, Patrick Stewart


Blue Ruin caught most of us unaware, Jeremy Saulnier crafting a brilliant revenge-thriller on a minuscule budget with a relative unknown lead actor in Macon Blair. He obviously made an impression, as the budget has been increased here as Patrick Stewart is on board, along with some other familiar faces. Needless to say then, this film has a lot to live up to.

A punk band is doing their best to land gigs, but their belief in the punk ethos is holding them back – they don’t do this for money, they do not care about social media; they are in it for the music and the music alone. This is a very real attitude amongst bands of this nature (mine included) and therefore feels very realistic.

The obvious problem with this punk attitude is, if one decides to play music full-time, that becomes your only source of income. With no internet presence, already playing a brand of music that isn’t exactly mainstream, it is obvious from the first scene that the group are struggling, driving around in a battered camper-van looking for that elusive gig that will land them enough money to feed themselves for a week or so.

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After an interview early in the film, their friend offers them an opportunity to play a show. It doesn’t sound like the best deal, but in their position, they can’t exactly turn down an opportunity to play. However, a nasty surprise awaits them, as the venue for their gig is a neo-nazi club, owned by a true sociopath.

Saulnier certainly knows his stuff, as heavy music is almost the only type of music accepted by these neo-nazi skinheads. Punk is a little different from heavy metal though, and after the band arrives and realises the type of place they are playing at, they have a quick band meeting. We soon learn what the meeting was about, as the band hits the stage opening with a cover: the classic Dead Kennedys track, ‘Nazi Punks, Fuck Off!’

Unsurprisingly, the audience doesn’t take too kindly to the lyrics, but the band keep on playing in true punk fashion even as bottles are being thrown at them. It is a brilliantly written segment that depicts what punk is all about.

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After the gig, the band go backstage to pack up and leave, only to inadvertently witness a murder. The men in charge know that they need this mess to be cleaned, and to keep the situation clean means that no witnesses will be leaving the premises any time soon. This creates a tense game where the band are coerced into staying in a room with one of the men from the club, the intimidating Big Justin (Eric Edelstein) who in addition to being huge also has a massive revolver to match.

Locked in the room, with the door being their only one way out, the tension begins to build. The band members desperately try to figure out the situation, and soon the owner of the building, Darcy (Patrick Stewart), arrives, talking to them through the locked door. The two groups try to reach a compromise, but this film wouldn’t be what it is if these negotiations were successful!

As any trust is quickly eroded, Darcy’s true intentions become clear and violence and mayhem ensue, but in a very calculated fashion. Much like a good song, the last act of the film plays out using sudden bursts of action with intentional lulls in-between. This approach increases the intensity of the action as Saulnier takes no prisoners with some very violent moments. These graphic scenes aren’t plentiful, which increases their impact even further. The film slowly turns into a guessing game of who will survive.

Rather disappointingly, the complete lack of impact Patrick Stewart has on the film is extremely noticeable. His character is written as a sociopathic neo-nazi who owns the club, who is hell bent on cleaning up the mess in his club in brutal fashion. The way he acts though is far too calm; he barely makes a dent in the film and is not memorable in any way.

I’m sure that is what Saulnier was aiming for, or perhaps Stewart didn’t fully understand the concept of his character. But unlike the rest of the film, his role is not executed well and Stewart doesn’t come across as intimidating in any way, unlike most of his henchmen, including Macon Blair, who is almost unrecognisable after his performance in Blue Ruin.

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An entertaining film to be sure, it unfortunately is let down by a bland performance by a great actor, as well as a very underwhelming end to proceedings. five beer(1)Still, Green Room is definitely worth a watch for fans of thrillers, and as it thrills it also is commenting on how musicians with this attitude to music struggle to make ends meet. Our society values art less and less as time flies by, and this is a definite comment on that fact, as it is extremely hard to make a living playing any music that isn’t mainstream pop. Saulnier also must be credited for expanding his abilities to craft a film. What’s next?

One short of a sixer

5/6

 

22 Comments on “GREEN ROOM [2015]

  1. I thought Patrick Stewart was terrifying in this. His calmness was, to me, the visible part of an iceberg. The nasty, rotting racist and possible serial killer that lurked within was hidden, and brilliantly Saulnier realized he didn’t need to demonstrate it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hmmm, yeah the calmness was certainly intentional but I guess it was a bit too calm for me. I could be wrong but I don’t recall him saying anything racist, it all was implied… I dunno, I guess I was hoping for something a bit more from him. Perhaps I’ll see it on a rewatch, but I couldn’t see that nastiness you speak of, apart from him ordering his henchmen around. I do agree though that the calmness was the way to go. I didn’t really like the ending also, but again, I’ll be giving this a rewatch for sure

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      • Yeah it’s an understated take on a skinhead/sociopath. It got me on first watch but then I haven’t gone back yet for seconds. I do remember the ending was a little weak. Good write up thougH! You made your case and it gives me things to think about on my next watch.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Indeed. I guess too understated for my liking, but I’m looking forward to watching it a second time round, got the BR 😀 Yeah I was a littler perplexed at the ending, I was expecting something super sinister and it sorta didn’t come.

        Thanks for the kind words mate, as always, much appreciated 🙂 I’m glad to have met ya via this blogosphere mate, if you are planning on taking a break w/ blogging we’ll have to stay in touch on facebook or something 🙂 I am sure we will have some great chats about film, none of my friends really give a shit about movies hehe, so it’s always nice to shoot the shit with a fellow cinephile, and fellow NBA fan!

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  2. I’m with Tom – thought Stewart was terrifying, mainly due to his icy calm behaviour. Enjoyable film, but not as gruesome as I’d been led to believe

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, I liked how they went from gruesome action to lulls, and then more action. Really gives the action more impact when there are lulls in-between. But… yeah, Stewart just didn’t do it for me. I’m certainly keen for a rewatch though, perhaps I’ll see it differently.

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  3. I hadn’t thought of watching this, it didn’t seem to be my type, but I’m curious about Stewart’s performance. Did you ever see him play the bad guy in ‘Conspiracy Theory’ with Mel Gibson? He was convincing as the evil bad guy. Just his expression that you’ve shared here for Green Room reminds me of it. If it’s not too slasher, and more thriller, I’d be game to rent it. Nice review, Jordan.

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    • There are perhaps two or three bloody parts, the rest of it is a tight thriller. I seem to be on my own about Stewart’s performance, he certainly wasn’t bad but he didn’t feel all that intimidating to me. But like most movies I look forward to a second viewing.

      I saw Conspiracy Theory a loooong time ago, so I have no memory of Stewart in that one. I’ll have to rewatch it, I think I saw it when I was a kid on TV!

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  4. Hey there Jordan! This looks too gruesome for me and I’ve been warned by people who know me that I probably shouldn’t watch it. I trust you that it’s good though, interesting to see Patrick Stewart here too. I actually just saw a film of Anton Yelchin this weekend, it’s a romance so I doubt it’s for you, but man it’s so sad he’s gone, he’s a pretty darn good actor.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I didn’t know that Yelchin had passed away. He is really good in this, that is so sad. GOD 2016 has been just a horrible, horrible year. Bloody hell, he was younger than me. Makes me even more thankful that I am still here, as I could have died many times when I had my problems with pain pills.

      This has some bloody parts, but there are only three or four scenes like that. The rest of it is thriller territory, though like I said, the lulls in-between the action do make those gruesome bits that much more powerful. If you ever do see it I’d be interested to hear what you think of Stewart. I just didn’t get the menacing vibe from him, though others obviously did!

      I also really liked its subtle commentary on music, and how it simply does not pay like it used to, and hasn’t for a long time now.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Hi Jordan! Yeah it’s so sad watching his film (called ‘5 To 7’) this past weekend knowing he’s gone. I actually met him a few years ago, he’s one of the first major celeb guests that came to TCFF so I got to interview him for ‘Like Crazy.’ He seemed like a level-headed and shy person, and so talented!

        As for Green Room, well I often go to the parental advisory on IMDb to see how gory a film is, and this one seems to be right up there.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yeah the scenes that are bloody are… very bloody, but there aren’t huge in quantity. Four scenes max I reckon. Of course its up to you 🙂

        That is sooo cool you get to meet people from the film world!! Luckyyyyy! That would have been great, I think I’ll go back to find some of his past films cos I really liked him here. Had never heard of him before watching this

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  5. Nice review Jordan. I absolutely adore this film; I think it capture the attitude and atmosphere of extreme music perfectly and it’s an incredible thriller. While I still want to catch a couple of other movies for the rest of the year, like Toni Erdmann, La La Land, and Silence, this is my favorite of 2016 thus far.

    As several commenters mentioned before, I felt Patrick Stewart perfectly played his character. His calm nature made the film all the more terrifying, particularly in the doorway sequence.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The doorway sequence was the only real time where I felt he was menacing. I dunno, I just didn’t feel it. Calm was the right way to go for sure, but it was a bit too calm for me! The ending was a let-down too, but of course that is no fault of Stewart’s. Again, I definitely need to rewatch this.

      And I like the subtle commentary on bands trying to play music like this. Their fate is like an exaggerated allusion to how bands of this nature try to survive if music is their sole means of income.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I didn’t think the acting was bland at all, this is still one of my favorite films I’ve seen this year. It makes me miss Anton even more.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah Anton really was great here. God he was three years younger than me.

      Heh it really seems like I’m in the minority about Stewart! The rest of the acting though was far from bland, I thought everyone was great. I didn’t dislike Stewart’s performance, I just didn’t feel intimidated by him. The sequence in the doorway is the only part that springs to mind – that scene was very well executed

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  7. Awesome review man. I really loved this too. Saulnier really outdid himself, which is saying something considering how good Blue Ruin was. Too bad Patrick Stewart’s performance didn’t work for you. I thought it was outstanding and the calmness to his character only added to the menace. As a genre film though, I’ve seen very few as good as this in recent years.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah I seem to be the only one who didn’t really get into Pat’s performance. I watched it again and still couldn’t feel it. But we are all different of course! But other than that, this was bloody ruthless, though I still think the ending was underwhelming. And the war-paint thing seemed weird too… not that that really matters much

      Liked by 1 person

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