Sometimes things take an unexpected turn, and life throws a wrench into our best laid plans. We need to be ready to adjust to obstacles thrown our way, and if you’re interested in seeing how someone would react to that last scenario, then check out Green Room.
Written and directed by Jeremy Saulnier and starring Anton Yelchin, Imogen Poots and Patrick Stewart, Green Room follows a struggling punk band touring in the Pacific Northwest running low on money. They accept an offer to perform at a bar deep in the woods of Oregon that turns out to be run by Neo-Nazi skinheads.
As one would expect, things start to go wrong. After seeing an incident that the club owners would rather be kept private (hint: it’s something illegal) the band finds themselves stuck in the club’s green room fighting for their lives.
Saulnier is coming off a debut film, Blue Ruin, that received critical acclaim, and, with Green Room, he proves that he’s a director worth watching. Saulnier doesn’t like his audiences to get comfortable, and there are few places more uncomfortable than being in a bar surrounded by Nazis.
Green Room’s story is tight, fast-paced and unpredictable, while Saulnier’s directing style—lots of long takes that allow the action to unfold in the screen rather than cutting to it—allows him to keep audiences on their toes enough to make it difficult to guess where the plot will go next.
Anton Yelchin gives a solid performance in one of his final roles—RIP Anton—as the bassist for the band while Imogen Poots emerges as the standout in the talented but relatively unknown cast. Of course, the “unknown” label doesn’t apply to Stewart, who gives a subdued and against-type performance as the club owner/group leader.
While it’s a good and intriguing story, the script doesn’t exactly blow viewers away, especially as the film nears its ending, which could be considered the movie’s weak point. Both of Saulnier’s films were made on small budgets, so it’s a little hard to determine what questionable decisions in the directing/writing process were made for the story and what was necessary to make the budget work.
The ending comes somewhat abruptly, and while it may have been Saulnier’s intention to end the film this way, it doesn’t really satisfy like it should.
Overall, Green Room is a clever concept and very well-executed, even if it doesn’t necessarily stick the landing. For those interested in Saulnier’s work, both Blue Ruin and Green Room are available with an Amazon Prime account, and Green Room ultimately emerges as the better movie.