Thursday, November 24, 2016

5 things to love about Green Room (2015)

What’s it about:
A small time punk band called the Ain’t Rights are touring the US playing crappy bars and it’s not going well. They are flat broke and, desperate for a payday, they agree to play a neo-Nazi club in the middle of the woods. Though the concert goes okay afterwards one of them goes back to the green room to get their phone and they witness the aftermath of a murder. The band lock themselves in the room while the neo Nazis (led by Patrick Stewart) try to lure them out so they can kill them.

5 things to love:
1. How good is the premise for this movie? Neo-Nazis scare the hell out of me. For the first two thirds the film is super tense and unpredictable. The idea of a left leaning punk band playing a right wing punk club is highly believable. There’s a great irony that the band are in-your-face on stage but frightened and weak later on.

2. Like Blue Ruin, the film doesn’t make either the heroes or the villains superhuman. They both screw up, they are both weak, they are both resourceful. A lot of people call Green Room a "horror movie" but I think that does it a disservice. The director’s goal isn’t to take you on a rollercoaster, it’s setting up a scenario and watch it play out as messily and realistically as possible.

3. Anton Yelchin gives a great performance as Pat, the bassist. Such a shame he died just after the film was released. It’s easy to hype up an actor’s performance when they die but I genuinely think this particular role plays to all his strengths as an actor.

4. Again, the cinematography is great. There’s a sickly, oppressive green filter throughout the film which really sets the tone.

5. Having pretty much only known Patrick Stewart from Star Trek and X-Men I had reservations about his ability to play a neo-Nazi leader but he’s actually pretty good and disappears into the role. I won’t say it’s a stunning performance but it works. He’s actually most intimidating when you just hear his voice talking to the band from outside the door.

1 thing it didn’t need:
For me, the film went downhill a little in the last third. There’s a part in the film about halfway through where Anton Yelchin starts giving a speech but gets cut off by one of his friends. I was really glad because “the rallying speech” is such a movie cliché – one of the characters even says “Is that a pep talk?”. I was really hoping he wouldn’t finish it but towards the end of the film he does. I was a little disappointed about that.

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