When I learned that Jeremy Saulnier (director of 2014’s thrilling “Blue Ruin”) was making a Nazi horror flick with Patrick Stewart and Anton Yelchin, All I thought was: “So, this is an unofficial ‘Star Trek’ crossover, eh?”
“Green Room” stars Yelchin as Pat, the leader of a pretentious punk band, The Ain’t Rights. He’s the bassist and is struggling on the road with his bandmates Sam the guitarist (Alia Shawkat from “Arrested Development”), drummer Reece (Joe Cole), and lead singer Tiger (Callum Turner). They bite off more than they can chew when they take a gig at a Nazi club. After playing Dead Kennedys’ “Nazi Punks Fuck Off” and finding a girl with a knife in her head,we then meet the club’s charismatic and cold-blooded owner, Darcy (Stewart), and it won’t end well.
I’d been looking forward to “Green Room” since I learned of the movie, and for many reasons, it lives up to the hype! I was mostly excited for Patrick Stewart’s villainous turn; while he’s a terrific villain, there’s a lot more to love.
“Green Room” is a siege movie and a tribute to classic 70’s survival thrillers like “The Warriors”, “Assault on Precinct 13”, and “Straw Dogs”. The siege atmosphere is within the green room itself; it’s the band members’ battle station. The movie’s also a love letter to punk music, and it’s executed brilliantly due to Saulnier’s attitude and charm.
All characters in this movie have attitude and thus, the Ain’t Rights and the Neo-Nazis are evenly matched (well, almost). The Nazis have guns with plenty of cartridges (one character colorfully explains the difference between cartridges and bullets), machetes, and attack dogs, but the band has a box cutter and jiu-jitsu, and that’s enough.
It should be no shock for people that “Green Room” is a violent and bloody movie, but most of the violence is underplayed in quick bursts. Saulnier evenly matches violence with dark humor in the same vein as the Coen Brothers and Quentin Tarantino.
The cast is great, but the standout performances are Imogen Poots as a tough party girl named Amber, who witnesses the murder and Macon Blair (“Blue Ruin”) as Darcy’s reluctant right-hand man Gabe. These two have the most depth and move the plot forward with emotions and expressions.
Each character in “Green Room” conveys realistic emotions and grows smarter as the situation escalates; I believed this is how someone would act in a survival horror scenario. “Green Room” is a fantastic thriller filled with a kick-ass soundtrack, lots of gore, surprising twists, and dark humor.