Movie: Green Room
My Rating: 4 stars
This movie was a whole lot more brutal than I was expecting. I don’t know why, but somehow I got it into my head that this was going to be a dark comedy. Perhaps it was because of the cast. Whenever I see Alia Shawkat and Anton Yelchin, my first thought is comedy. But, this movie is definitely not humorous. It’s more of a slasher, thriller, nightmare descent into a white supremacist hellhole. You’d be hard pressed to find even a moment of comic relief.
This movie is about a struggling punk band. The kind of person who’s in a traveling punk band is living on the edge already—living in a van, eating gas station food, drinking and smoking gallons of lord knows what. But, when this particular band runs out of money at an inconvenient time in their tour, they make the ruinous mistake of accepting a last minute gig at a white supremacist clubhouse to drum up a little extra cash. And naturally, things start going wrong immediately. I don’t think I need to tell you what kind of trouble. Based purely on reputation you’ve probably guessed that it involves switchblades, combat boots, and dog fights somehow. Stereotypes exist about that kind of place for a reason. So, our poor protagonists really should have known better. But, I guess we aren’t exactly dealing with the type of youngster who’s known for making good life choices. But, I would have turned right around at the first sight of swastika face tattoos.
This is an excellent example of the “low-budget, closed-room drama” genre. That’s long been one of my favorite genres. I’m amazed at how different directors can come up with such wildly different results when given these strict limitations. And, I really think this is an expert execution of the idea. Our protagonists are stuck in one room for most of the time (the green room from the title). Yet the script manages to conjure up so much dread and suspense. I was impressed. The casting is also pretty great. There’s Anton Yelchin and Alia Shawcat as I already mentioned. And there’s an amusing number of British actors playing American white trash. Imogen Poots plays one of the gang girlfriends, and Callum Turner is another one of the band members. But, the most interesting choice is Patrick Stewart cast as the leader of this neo-Nazi cell. It took me a little while to recognize him, he disappeared into the role so completely. The movie is worth watching for the acting alone.
I’m not sure whether to recommend this movie or not. You’ll remember that I was very surprised by the content. It was much more gruesome and intense than I was expecting. But, I did enjoy the film. It’s intense, unpredictable, and very well-made. I’d say that this movie is right for a very limited audience—full adults who enjoy horror films and who are ok with a healthy dose of violence and carnage. So, if you’re on-board for that, then absolutely check out this little gem.