94 min., 2015
Directed by Jeremy Saulnier
My rating: ★★★★
First there was MURDER PARTY. Then there was BLUE RUIN. Now there is . . . GREEN ROOM
* * *
Writer/director Jeremy Saulnier hasn’t been around for a long time, but he’s a fucking master already. His previous two films kicked all form of ass and were damned near perfect. GREEN ROOM is no different. The man is incapable of making a bad movie or even a mediocre one.
This time a punk band, low on cash and starting to get desperate (desperate enough to play a set in what looks like a cheapo restaurant), takes a gig at an isolated neo-Nazi bar. Naturally, being punks, they despise the idea of playing for a bunch of skinheads, but they need the money. They put on a good show, the crowning achievement being their opening song. Holy shit, these punk kids don’t look like much, but they’ve got some serious balls. They did a Dead Kennedys cover. Oh yeah, you’d better believe it was “Nazi Punks Fuck Off.” It pisses everyone in the bar off, but the punks win their audience over with some of their own songs.
After their set they get their money and are about to leave when . . . whoo boy. One of them witnesses a murder in the green room. From that point on, things get really fucking ugly for everyone involved.
One thing that can never be said about Saulnier: that he skimps on special effects. Don’t even think it. From as early as MURDER PARTY, what with the melting werewolf mask and everything, he puts every effort (and probably every dollar) into wonderful physical effects. In one scene a character’s arm is attacked by a machete, and when we get a good look at the wounds, it’s fucking ghastly. Another character gets his throat bitten out by a dog. And then there’s the character who gets half of his face blown off with a shotgun. The special effects are the finest in the industry right now.
And as always, Saulnier knows exactly the actors he needs to pull off this story. All of them bring their A-game. Anton Yelchin is great as an ordinary guy who has to suddenly undergo extraordinary changes in his struggle to survive. Imogen Poots is wonderfully strong and slightly crazy as his partner in survival. Macon Blair, as per usual, puts in a great performance, knowing exactly how much comedy he needs to mix in with drama. And then there’s Sir Patrick Stewart. Holy shit. This is not Picard or Xavier. No sir. He’s a bad motherfucker. You’ve never seen him like this before. He is absolutely menacing as the owner of the neo-Nazi bar. He is cold and calculating and a wonder to behold.
Saulnier is a talent to watch. He’s great with quiet moments. His attention to detail is perfect. As with Blair, he knows how to mix in oddly comedic touches with this horrifying story. One can’t help but look forward to his next film.
GREEN ROOM unfortunately didn’t get a wide release, so it’s going to be hard to track this one down before it gets a DVD/Netflix release. Do yourself a favor and haunt your local arthouse theaters. You might find it there, and if you do, you’ll be most blessed indeed.Have You Read...?