14th October 2015 8.45pm at Hackney Picturehouse
15th October 2015 8.45pm at Picturehouse Central
Coming straight from his acclaimed revenge thriller Blue Ruin, writer-director Jeremy Saulnier returns with another suspenseful and gritty film that pits Patrick Stewart’s white supremacist and his gang of neo-Nazis against a young punk-rock band that is simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. After the band witnesses a murder, the film really kicks into gear with an escalating level of violence that has the audience gasping and cringing at the brutality of its delivery.
All the actors are convincing in this exploitation-inspired premise, with Anton Yelchin giving a suitably fearful and often defeatist performance as the band’s bassist. The most stand-out performance though is Patrick Stewart’s Darcy, the leader of this group of neo-Nazis. Similar to Sean Connery in The Untouchables, the voice he gives the character is unbelievable, so Stewart attempts to hide his lack of American accent with a calm and menacing performance, to great effect.
The film’s plot moves at a perfect pace and the camerawork is suitably unforgiving, allowing the audience to see all the gruesome details of fight sequences. The barely lit interior of the venue where the band plays perfectly suits the ominous mood; the setting complements the dark story as graffiti is slathered on the walls, there are bottles and blood smeared on the floor and sofas. This, along with minimal and natural lighting for many scenes, accentuates the film’s already uneasy atmosphere.
But while the violent moments are shocking and the tense parts are truly edge-of-your-seat experiences, there are still tonal inconsistencies and throwaway characters. The film, similar to Blue Ruin, has comedic elements but they often feel forced, unlike Saulnier’s previous efforts, where they provided relief from the drama. Not only that, but there is no real humanistic element that gives the film some heart, probably because of the lack of relationship between the opposing sides. Even Macon Blair, initially a sympathetic character who shows promise for a character arc, eventually has an anti-climactic end.
The film provides shock value and intense sequences, and despite lacking in some areas (the uneven comedy and lack of character depth), Green Room absolutely delivers in others, making it an unforgettable, grisly experience.
Green Room does not have a UK release date yet.
Watch a clip of Green Room here: