Green Room


Reviewed by: Amber Wilkinson

Green Room
"Less psychological and more formulaic than his previous feature, this is still relentlessly entertaining."

Jeremy Saulnier inches along the spectrum from the mournful titular colour of Blue Ruin to the lush greens of woodland - and altogether more sickly hospital-evoking and harsh striplight greens - in his latest outing. Less psychological and more formulaic than his previous feature, this is still relentlessly entertaining. As with Blue Ruin there are innocents abroad - this time, a young group of sub-Sex Pistol punky monkeys, who live mostly out of their tour van like a sort of counter-culture Scooby-Doo Gang.

Pat (Anton Yelchin), Tiger (Callum Turner), Sam (Alia Shawkat) and Reece (Joe Cole) are the Ain't Rights, and the sight of them syphoning petrol tells us they are hardly on the brink of their big break. At the end of a thankless tour, they find themselves with an unexpected gig in back-of-beyond Oregon. If the middle-of-nowhere venue isn't enough to clue them into the possibility of trouble then the fact that the club is packed with neo-Nazis soon does the trick, with Saulnier summing up their youthful brand of bravery-cum-stupidity in a moment when they decide to rip into a cover version of the Dead Kennedys' Nazi Punks Fuck Off.

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Suprisingly - and the element of surprise is something Saulnier holds dear and exploits to the full - it is not this that lands them in trouble, but an unfortunate moment when they stumble upon a freshly committed murder. With a dead girl on the floor and her best friend (Imogen Poots, relishing the chance to go into commando strike mode) on the verge of hysterics, the band somehow manage to kidnap one of the venue's beligerent bouncers (Eric Edelstein), block the door to the Green Room and find themselves in a stand-off with the venue owner Darcy (Patrick Stewart) and his crew, including sidekick Gabe (Macon Blair, adopting and enjoyable air of hapless menace).

And so the stage - or at least the room - is set for comedy siege/horror antics as the shooting, slashing and general hacking commences. Like Spanish mayhem maestro Álex de la Iglesia, Saulnier knows how to keep a tight grip on his action. He plays by the rules of the building, letting us see the space before employing it to bloody and action-packed affect. He also shares a similar way with comedy to Iglesia, with punchlines timed with the same precision as his blood spatter - including proof-positive that gaffer tape really can be used to repair anything.

Green Room certainly doesn't have the nuance of Blue Ruin - this is a game of survival instinct with no time for soul searching - and the tension doesn't have the same sweaty palm quality of his previous film either. This is largely because, with a bigger cast, its harder to get quite so invested in each character. Nevertheless as the body count rises and the players become fewer, the dread level increases and Saulnier's inventiveness ensures that the familiar plot trajectory has enough energy to keep you hurtling along with it.

Reviewed on: 19 Feb 2016
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A young punk band is trapped in a secluded venue after stumbling on a murder committed by neo-Nazis.
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Director: Jeremy Saulnier

Writer: Jeremy Saulnier

Starring: Imogen Poots, Alia Shawkat, Anton Yelchin, Patrick Stewart, Mark Webber, Joe Cole

Year: 2015

Runtime: 94 minutes

BBFC: 18 - Age Restricted

Country: US

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