What happens when a punk band lands a last minute gig at a neo-Nazi bar? Pure radical chaos. Prior to watching Green Room (2015) written and directed by Jeremy Saulnier and starring both Patrick Stewart and the late Anton Yelchin, I did my best to avoid almost all spoilers and I am so very glad I did. From nearly start to finish Green Room is a nonstop adrenaline infused story that at each unfortunate turn unwinds perfectly to relay an incredibly well scripted tale of cringe worthy terror.
The Ain’t Rights, a punk band that traveled by the skin of their teeth to their next show arrive only to find out during a radio interview that the show was canned. Obviously pissed and broke they accept the organizers make up gig near Portland at a skinhead bar in the middle of the woods. Pat, Reece, Sam and Tiger arrive at the bar, tick off some neo-Nazis, play a great set an get paid. On the way out they happen to stumble across a crime scene and their entire world takes a turn for the worse.
Jeremy Saulnier did a phenomenal job over the course of the first 15-20 minutes of the film building up the band mates and providing enough foundation to the main characters that we as viewers actually care what happens to them through the chaotic course of the plot. When the band finds themselves held hostage by the club owner (Patrick Stewart), their attempts at escaping result in a high anxiety spiral slathered with gore, grime and leaves the viewer completely enthralled in the helplessness of it all. The incredibly insightful and effective cinematography paired with excellent sound work and disturbingly realistic make up and special effects perfectly tie together the intriguing plot and grim story arch. All of the cast, from the band to the club members nail their roles, however stereotypical and short lived. It is unfortunate that we lost Anton Yelchin this year as Green Room is yet another film in which he superbly carries a character through chaos and change.
Green Room is a perfect thriller. One which makes you care not only to see how the story ends, but how it unfolds. It’s just gruesome and graphic enough to feel uncomfortably realistic but not unbelievable, especially in regards to the depravity of human nature.