I love violent movies, revenge movies and thrillers, but “Green Room” just didn’t work for me. The strong premise (a punk rock band is held captive in a backroads club by a group of neo-Nazi white power hillbillies) is squandered in a painfully slow to start film. Once things finally get rolling, the movie becomes hyper violent and repetitive (how many close-up scenes of blood-splattered pit bulls ripping out people’s throats do we really need?), filled with cut after cut after cut of extreme brutality that’s intended to startle and shock rather than serve any constructive purpose.
The hillbilly bloodbath that dominates the third act feels too much like reheated leftovers from director Jeremy Saulnier‘s much better work, “Blue Ruin.” As the main characters were picked off one by one, my emotional detachment grew and I found it harder to care, quickly becoming bored with it all. Saulnier is a talent to watch, but his finesse for tension building is wasted on poor character development and a laborious script.
Even the laughably bad dialogue couldn’t take my mind off of the glaring miscasting of Patrick Stewart as a white supremacist club owner or the inauthentic, pedestrian performances from the talented cast (including Anton Yelchin, Imogen Poots, Alia Shawkat, Mark Webber, Macon Blair and Joe Cole).
The movie is technically well constructed and beautifully crafted, but the story is so tainted with one-note characters, elementary dialogue, and copious amounts of repulsive violence that it briskly sinks under its own enthusiasm.Sadly , this one is no better than any run-of-the-mill direct to video movie you could pick up in a Redbox on a Friday night.
Writer-director Jeremy Saulnier follows up his festival favorite (and entry in my 2014 top ten list) “Blue Ruin” with this gory and suspense-filled tale of ordinary people coping with extraordinary situations.
The story is simple: a struggling punk/metal band gets a gig playing a neo-Nazi skinhead club in rural Oregon. One of the members sees something he wasn’t supposed to, and quickly the band becomes trapped in the titular green room.
A completely fresh take on the siege movie, the characters in “Green Room” aren’t combat vets. They aren’t experienced with weapons. They know little about strategy. Instead, they are forced to rely on their imperfect wits to deal with ever-changing circumstances in a fight for their lives as the body count continues to rise. Allegiances shift and hidden motives become revealed as the movie continues to surprise. We’ve never seen a siege movie quite like this one.
Tautly constructed with relatable performances (including a memorable turn from Patrick Stewart), the story movies quickly and the suspense remains gripping throughout.
Oddly enough, Louisa completely disagreed with me on this movie and didn’t find it compelling at all. That rarely happens. I would love for more people to see this one and let us know which one of us you agree with.