Paul Barclay

Review: “Green Room grabs you and simply does not let go”

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It may seem easy to make a film set mostly in an enclosed space. It is cheaper and there is possibly less that can go wrong. But, there is a tough side to this. The film-maker has to succeed in making sure their audience feels closed in as well. Even if the film is a romantic comedy, the audience need to buy into the setting. If they do not, the illusion is lost. With Green Room, this is vital. But does it work?

Green Room is the latest movie by Blue Ruin director Jeremy Saulnier and focuses on The Ain’t Rights, a small four-piece punk band who are on what seems to be a very unsuccessful tour, when they get the opportunity to play a show in a white supremacist club. They need the money, even though they do not agree with the sentiment. In fact, to antagonise the crowd, they open their set with a cover of the Dead Kennedys song Nazi Punks F*** Off. But, the set goes fine. As they are leaving though, they stumble upon a violent crime. That is where it all goes wrong for them.

What follows is a tour-de-force of unbearable tension, blunt violence and a streak of jet-black humour. As said, the violence is blunt. It is also brutal and gory. But, unlike many horror films, not ridiculously so. Green Room uses its violence to full effect. You want to look away, but you can’t. This is also due to the tension. Green Room grabs you and simply does not let go. The tone of the film is so menacing and tense that you cannot move. It pins you to your seat and keeps you there.

This is aided by strong performances from the cast. Anton Yelchin, as the band’s bass player Pat, is great. His nervousness is conveyed perfectly. He is indecisive and scared, which makes him real. You need a character to relate to, which he most definitely is. He is supported well by Imogen Poots, who plays Amber, a girl who is trapped with the band in the eponymous Green Room. She is a character who is not afraid to get her hands dirty, and frequently does. But, the star of the show is Patrick Stewart, who plays the head of the neo-nazi group Darcy. He is a seriously menacing presence who is only interested in ending this situation as soon as possible. It is refreshing to see an actor take on something so different from what they usually do, and it is even better when they nail it.

Green Room is a taut, claustrophobic, tension-filled film. As said, it grabs you and does not let go. It has real characters dealing with a horrific situation to the best of their abilities and in a way that seems accurate. In its short run time of 95 minutes, it achieves more than most other horror films released. Green Room is a short, sharp shock. But a damn good one.

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