Film Review: Green Room

green-room-posterArlington, Virginia, punk band the Ain’t Rights hit a bit of bad luck while on tour and accepted a spot on a last-minute show in Oregon. Unfortunately the venue is run by a group of white supremacists and when the band members accidentally witness something they shouldn’t have they become a liability. From this point on the band members and a local have to find a way out of this situation with the odds mounting against them.

First off I must say that Green Room was my most anticipated film of this year and with my anticipation and its festival hype it indeed delivered on what it promised and did not disappoint in any way. Jeremy Saulnier has crafted an amazing and tense thriller with great characters on both sides of the fight. The story is told in such a way that you can instantly understand characters and their motivations without the characterizations coming off as stereotypes or stock. In addition the movie’s phenomenal cast are fantastic at every turn, from major roles to secondary characters, there wasn’t a weak link. The entirety of the band (Anton Yelchin, Alia Shawkat, Joe Cole, and Callum Turner) seem like people I have known while Patrick Stewart and Macon Blair play two very different but intimidating antagonists.

Green Room is also a wonderful film on a technical front with great cinematography by Sean Porter who also shot 2014’s Kumiko The Treasure Hunter and features a great score by Brooke and Will Blair who both also scored Saulnier’s Blue Ruin. The film also features some astounding special effects and action sequences that were executed by a great team of effects artists and stunt people and add the necessary impact to the movie’s tense standoffs.

I am going to go out on a limb here and state that Jeremy Saulnier is one of the most interesting independent directors working in the US currently and that Green Room will definitely figure into my favorite films of 2016. I’d even go as far to say that Saulnier may be the American independent film equivalent of Park Chan Wook in his prime, with Blue Ruin being comparable to Sympathy For Mr. Vengeance as a small contained revenge story that is just as emotionally devastating as it is viscerally impactful and Green Room being the comparable step up to Old Boy, which, while not having the same emotional impact, is a far more complicated and technically involved action thriller and a clear indicator of great work to come.

At this point it must be clear that I am recommending this movie, for those who like thrillers, horror, punk films and tense dramas I think you would be doing yourself a disservice by not experiencing Green Room theatrically. It isn’t every week that a great film by a stand-out filmmaker pushes its way into wide release, but this is your chance to see that “something different” in the multiplex. Green Room is currently screening at both the Providence Place and Warwick Mall Showcase Cinemas.

Green Room (2015);  Director: Jeremy Saulnier; Starring: Anton Yelchin, Imogen Poots, Alia Shawkat, Patrick Stewart

 

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