Director: Jeremy Saulnier
Writer: Jeremy Saulnier
Verdict: Really good fun
In a way I feel like this film has a kindred spirit in Drive, they’re both simple stories told with a visual style and panache with a degree of pathos and these huge explosions of violence. However where as Drive’s violence blossoms out like blooming flowers in the peak of spring, Green Room‘s violence hits you like sledgehammer. There are moments in Green Room that made me wince harder than anything in Drive. In Drive the violence has a degree of once removed detachment, a degree of exhibitionism that’s missing from Green Room. In Green Room it feels real. Director Jeremy Saulnier, (Blue Ruin, Murder Party), said in interviews that when he killed someone off he’d have to take a time out writing and it really feels like that. This film pulls no punches, when someone gets killed off Saulnier does not hold back in giving them an easy death, it is as it would happen.
Pitching Green Room as what it is, a punks vs Nazis siege thriller doesn’t quite do it justice, it makes it sound more comical than it is. Now Green Room does a a vein of pitch black gallows humour running through it but the reason that works is to do with how straight it’s played, it works because the primary gear of Green Room is one of absolute hopelessness. It feels like people in absolutely no mental state to making such important decisions making important decisions badly, and the consequences come as they will. The only caveat being that this film seems to think duct tape is the answer to all medical issues. This atmosphere is aided by the cinematography which is filled with this sickly green lighting, even when the fame is flooded with warm yellows it has that David Fincher, (Gone Girl, Fight Club, Zodiac) washed out quality, so that the colour green infests everything in the film.
It’s also aided by some fine performances is a great ensemble cast. Macon Blair who worked with Saulnier before on Blue Ruin and Murder Party, Blue Ruin he is quite incredible in, is one of the standouts. He lends his Nazi underling a real sense of humanity and pathos that really makes neither side feel like the hero. Patrick Stuart as the head of the facility our protagonists find themselves trapped in is really, really good. It does feel like his character was written for a deep south local with some of the syntax and dialects used but when Patrick Stuart does it he makes it sound almost ironic in a way that alternately really really works or really really doesn’t. By far my favourite characters though are our Punk band the ain’t rights. Imogen Poots who I liked so much in 28 Weeks Later gives a very different performance in a very similar film. Here she is threatening and dangerous and a complete bad ass in a way I quite like, although she isn’t a band member. The cast of the band are filled out by Anton Yelchin, (Star Trek), Alia Shawkat, (Arrested Development, Me Him Her), Joe Cole, (Peaky Blinders), and Callum Turner, (Victor Frankenstein). They are each distinct but believable characters, and each character does a very good job in portraying them.
Green Room is a claustrophobic horror/thriller that will have you both on the edge of your seat and cowering behind a blanket. I really like it, if you’re into grizzly exploitation films then you probably will too, I mean it’s hard to convey just how good and believable the gore effects are, in a way that will make you feel very uncomfortable. I give it two hearty thumbs up.
I suppose all that’s left to say is that Anton Yelchin is really good in this film. He bestows his character with a sense of empathy and desperation mature beyond his years. He was set to be a Hollywood superstar, and a very interesting actor. An enthusiastic interviewee and a great Chekov who clearly loved every moment he was portraying the character. He leaves a whole in the movie industry and was taken too young. You don’t know what you have until it’s gone and I am still saddened thinking of Anton. Rest in Peace friend, you go with everyone’s respect.