A tight, gripping, well acted thriller with smarter than usual characters and a premise that leads to a tense atmosphere.
OVERALL SCORE – 3.5/5
Green Room is a 2016 thriller written and directed by Jeremy Saulnier. It stars Anton Yelchin (RIP), Imogen Poots, Alia Shawkat, Joe Cole, Callum Turner and Patrick Stewart. The film tells the story of a struggling punk band who witness a crime at a Neo-Nazi club and get pigeon-holed in the Green Room unable to escape.
The premise of Green Room is primed and ready for thrills. It resembles the premise of most enjoyable action movies or thrillers. A log line which actually boils down to one line and the screenplay which has the unenviable task of carrying that log line. The biggest advantage the film has is its cast. When you have Anton Yelchin, Imogen Poots, and Patrick Stewart in your film, you know you have good performances waiting to happen. To the film’s benefit, the bit players come to party themselves and make the environment as tense as possible. There are no outright bad performances across the board, maybe a few not so great ones.
The fun part of the film is not that the good guys are stuck in a room and can’t get out. This is not a claustrophobic film like Panic Room. The good guys can walk out and make their plans but the bad guys have a perimeter set up around them. The intellectual head behind the bad guys is not an idiot. He knows what works and what doesn’t and his collected nature when surrounded by half-witted henchmen is terrorizing. Most movies would take the easy way out of making the Neo-Nazis look like morons and also use the race card to full effect but this film circumvents that cliche. There are no black people or Jews. So the opportunities for the bad guys to be overtly racist goes out the door and the audience is presented with a well-made thriller. The confederate flags and writings on walls help remind the audience of the film’s location but the props do not overpower the story.
The filmmaking is tense. The main characters and some of the supporting cast are given some depth to help the audience connect to them. Not all Neo-Nazis are fully bad nor are all the good guys fully good. That’s just a good touch. The songs used in the film work out to good effect to create some tense moments. The characters and surrogate-ly the audience understand the weight of the situation when some pieces of music are played. The film does have a lot of death but the filmmakers make a conscious choice not to fetishise it and that helps the film to be accepted by a wider audience.
A few characters might feel uneven from time to time. The bad guys themselves seem to overlook some fatal problems in their contingency plan. The good guys themselves seem to lose some common sense once in a while but I do understand they are all conveniences needed to tell a story. The film is not trying to reinvent the wheel. It is not trying to be The Silence of The Lambs, it is trying to be Vacancy.
It is just a fun time with an easy to relate story and characters to root for. It respects its audience to a good degree and does not ask them to turn their brains off, and to that I say good work.
OVERALL SCORE – 3.5/5
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