Director: Jeremy Saulnier
Writer: Jeremy Saulnier
Cast: Anton Yelchin, Joe Cole, Alia Shawkat, Callum Turner, Imogen Poots, David W. Thompson, Mark Webber, Macon Blair, Eric Edelstein, Patrick Stewart
Seen on: 5.6.2016
Pat (Anton Yelchin), Sam (Alia Shawkat), Reece (Joe Cole), and Tiger (Callum Turner) are the punk band The Ain’t Rights. They are currently touring, desperate for any gig they can book that will actually pay. They accept an offer to play at a place they know nothing about and are taken aback when they find out that it’s actually a neo-nazi club. But since they can’t afford to decline, they decide to power through. Unfortunately when they’re done, they walk in on a murder and suddenly their situation turns very bad indeed.
Green Room has been getting pretty amazing buzz and great reviews. I have to admit, I can’t entirely follow the hype surrounding the film. It’s a strong film, no doubt about it, but it did not blow me away.
Green Room is a gripping film, drawing you into an increasingly claustrophobic situations as not only the space is tight – both behind the stage and the location of the club itself, fenced in by a foreboding forest – but als the number of options of how everybody can handle the situation decreases continuously. Saulnier, his cinematographer Sean Porter and the lighting perfectly capture that shrinking room. Green has never felt this oppressive.
Under the pressure the characters start to crack as well, above all the band themselves, and it was interesting to see how their tough as nails posturing fell away more and more. In the end, it is only Reece who is willing to answer violence with violence – and his bandmates are only too happy to let him get his hands dirty if it means they don’t have to. With the way Cole plays Reece, somewhere between resignation that he is once again violent, cold efficiency and a certain enjoyment of the freedom it affords, you get the distinct feeling that his band mates may have been pretending to be tougher than they are, but he has been making himself softer until then – and it took him quite a bit of effort.
This performance made Joe Cole and Reece my favorite part of the film – and that even though I love Anton Yelchin (who died only a few days after I saw the film) and Patrick Stewart. They – and the rest of the generally excellent cast – did a great job, but not even Stewart cast against type really stood out to me as much as Cole. Probably because I’m starting to grow a little tired of the polite, soft-spoken evil guy as a trope.
But as the film went on, it couldn’t quite keep its tension for me and the ending was distinctly underwhelming, so that I left the cinema not so much with the feeling that I just saw a great film and more with the feeling that I can now cross a film off my watchlist. And for that little excitement, the (first two thirds of the) film are definitely much too good.