Review: Green Room a neo-Nazi band bloodbath (really)
Steeped in mystery and gore. Much like an ordinary green room.
May 23, 2016
Filed under Arts and Entertainment
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We have a new director to watch: Jeremy Saulnier.
It isn’t every day that an indie writer-director from Portland can score two Star Trek alums to star in his third film Green Room. By that feat alone, Saulnier deserves praise, but I won’t sell him short.
Saulnier has crafted a taut, no-holes barred psycho-thriller that delivers gore and smarts in a rare combo only a handful of films can pull off. Saulnier builds upon an awesome premise of a band trapped in a bar’s green room by the Nazi cult owners with realistic characters and a clearly evident love for exploitative cinema.
Anton Yelchin (AKA Chekov in the new Star Trek movies) stars as Pat, bass player to his punk band The Ain’t Rights, who travel too far to find any paying gigs. They are led deep into the woods to a hardcore neo-Nazi club, to which they play loud, mean and as fast as possible to get out quick. But they stumble onto something that leads into a story formed like a slippery slope of jagged rocks.
They are trapped and threatened by the neo-Nazis outside, led by the immortal Patrick Stewart, forcing the band to think quickly about how to survive. It’s a simple premise that many horror films have gone too far with. But Green Room makes sure to keep all things considered, and tells the stories on both sides of the door, educating us on what the plot is, who the characters were, and what is about to happen without ever being heavy-handed.
The cinematography captures the beauty of both the Pacific Northwest forests as well as the blood pouring out of people left, right, and centre. The entire film is set within the Nazi club, but cinematographer Sean Porter uses the setting to his advantage, making fluorescent light fixtures look oddly beautiful.
The action is quite intense with some fantastic editing, lingering and cutting all in the right places. Green Room is also darkly funny at times, hanging you on the millimetre of your seat with pure shock, then relaxing you with one quirky quip. The music is like a synthesised ocean, waves of organ notes giving emotion to emotionless scenes.
Yelchin and Stewart perform as well as I expected, even though they never are in the same scene until the end. Imogen Poots, who I have never paid much attention to in other films, provides the most heart and humour, however bizarre and left-of-field it may seem.
Green Room’s plot is a bit of a jumble, with the neo-Nazis’ purpose never being clear enough to be understood. The film feels like it has run two hours at only 93 minutes, and a script revision would have been welcome, but the craft of the film makes up for these flaws.
Independent films for me often don’t venture far enough into the wilder world of film-making, settling for simplicity over meaningful quality. Green Room is a cut far above the rest; an audacious, surprisingly intelligent, original and uncompromising throwback to Carpenter and Hitchcock. Albeit with more guns and blood.
Green Room is in Luna Cinemas Leederville now.
Green Room – 8/10