Green Room 2016 Review
Green Room Movie Review
Few films successfully capture the violent fear of death, but director Jeremy Saulnier has eerily done so with Green Room. Following a punk band through their traveling trials and tribulations, Saulnier shines a light on the grimy Midwestern crevices that cinema rarely dares to venture. Pat (Anton Yelchin), Amber Sam (Alia Shawkat), Reece (Joe Cole) and Tiger (Callum Turner) are the names of the band members in questions, and they prove important names, as the film ensures each character get their deserved turn of relevance. Unlike slasher films, where the names, faces, and figures often view interchangeable, the teens here are real people with rational fears about the situation.
That situation comes to the forefront when they accidentally witness a backstage murder, and are restrained from leaving. Frantically attempting to find a way out, the tense standoff turns ugly when the group barricades themselves in a dressing room with a single pistol. Saulnier knows when to push and pull the viewer with these intimate stagings, and it is often this talent that keeps Green Room from slipping into generic territory. The other talent ensuring the film stays strong is Patrick Stewart, who saunters onto the screen as sadistic club owner Darcy Banker. Bearded and be-speckled, the always restrained actor uses his guile to glorious effect, whether attempting to talk down Pat and his pals or fixing up brutal methods to butcher them. Matched in everyman decency by the recently deceased Anton Yelchin, Saulnier strikes gold time and time again through their ramped-up interactions.
Violence, a noted aspect of the director’s 2013 debut Blue Ruin, also comes back in full effect. Pushing the boundaries of an R-rating far beyond what most would typically expect, Green Room wholly indulges in barely hanging limbs and sliced up stomachs. Those who squirm at the sight of blood or a dog gnawing into a live person’s neck may want to think twice before venturing down the rabbit hole. That being said, the visual and visceral extremes that Saulnier puts us through in turn aids the desperate tone of the picture overall. When subjected some of these harrowing acts, the desire to leave the Green Room becomes infectious.
The final act, occurring outside of the titular room, loses tension, and as a result, sags the momentum ever so slightly. Whether a singular result of the narrative set-up or Saulnier’s still growing talent as a filmmaker remains to be seen, but it does keep the picture from attaining the mantle of masterpiece. As it stands, Green Room occupies a unique place in the cinematic spectrum; neither horror nor thriller, but rather the singular vision of a man who clearly has a bright career ahead of him. Time will only tell if Saulnier rises to the ranks of premiere directors, but if he keeps pushing buttons like these, the A-list shouldn’t be a problem. Green Room was selected as one of our picks as the top 25 films of 2016 http://www.verticecine.com/best-movies-of-2016/