Green Room

| April 19, 2016

Jeremy Saulnier’s Green Room manages to encapsulate the emotion and ferocity of hardcore punk music and imbue it into cinematic form; it’s loud, aggressive, exciting and then its over. At a mere 94 minutes, Saulnier’s thriller packs a powerful punch and is easily one of my favorite cinematic experiences of 2016. Pat (Anton Yelchin) is the leader of a four piece, DIY Punk band. Along with his fellow members Sam (Alia Shawkat), Tiger (Callum Turner) and Reece (Joe Cole), the band has embarked on a microscopic tour that has led them all over the country. When they arrive at a gig that doesn’t pay them enough to get to their next destination, the promoter feels bad and throws them a gig in a seedy part of town. Riddled with Nazi Punks, the band decides to play the gig, in order to get back home. Once there, they accidentally trigger a series of events that keeps them locked up in bar, struggling to fight their way back home.

While lean in its length, Green Room engages audiences with an intense setting for its characters and manages to make one feel uneasy for a majority of its running time. Even if you’ve seen trailers for the film, the wonderful distribution company, A24, has played it smart and has managed to keep one guessing until the film is over. While his previous effort, Blue Ruin, was a meditation on the effects of revenge and what it can do to a person, Saulnier’s latest never feels like a battle of ideologies, as it would on paper. Sure, there’s a DIY punk band that believes in the hard efforts what people provide for the music they create versus a hate group that believes in purity of the Aryan race. None of this comes to play and it ultimately comes down to people just getting into a terrible situation with bad people and how they can manage to survive.

One of the best things of Green Room is the cast that Saulnier has obtained for his third feature. The prestige that is Sir Patrick Stewart is one of the major highlights as the cold and calculated Darcy Banker. While you know he’s capable of much, Stewart’s villain is scarier when he’s quiet, when he’s glaring at someone, in those smaller moments because you wonder what he’s going to do next. In the same category, Anton Yelchin’s Pat is an indecisive, quiet type; yet, there are points in the film where he proves why he’s the leader of the group. Imogen Poots showcases versatility as Amber, a young Chelsea hair cut sporting punk, who acts as both the victim and the aggressor at various parts of the film.

Speaking of aggression, one of the key elements of the film that people might criticize is the amount of violence in Green Room. While the film is extremely violent, Saulnier continues the path that he previously treaded in Blue Ruin. In his previous effort, there are two major acts of violence in the beginning and the ending of the film, that are more of the emotional outbursts, than gratuitous acts that are plastered in most films. While Green Room has tons of more violence and it might feel gratuitous, the film heavily relies on all of these acts being charged with much more emotion than panhandling to gore hounds or being an irresponsible filmmaker. Violence in cinema is something that should resonate with the viewer as an abhorrent act and Jeremy Saulnier has a deep understanding of this and Green Room is no exception to this.

While it may be difficult for some people to stomach, Green Room is a thriller like no other and it’s punk rock vibe may not sit well with some. To those I say, if you can’t take a punch to the face, then stay out of the mosh pit. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!!

About the Author:

is a graduate from Columbia College Chicago with a degree in Audio for Visual Media. He works as a freelance location sound mixer, boom operator, sound designer, and writer in his native Chicago. He's an avid collector of films, comics, and anime.
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