Green Room doesn’t fuck around…
There’s just no other way to say it!
The Film and All It’s Glory
Clocking in at a lean and mean 95 minute run-time, Jeremy Saulnier’s third feature film is unnervingly swift, curating the entirety of its gruesome atmosphere through quiet character moments. Akin to Saulnier’s previous (and brilliant) effort Blue Ruin, it settles into an indistinct, melancholic rhythm, only to be ripped to shreds by furious specters visualized in an array of ghastly imagery. With a talented cast more than capable of handling the material, success was inevitable, but Saulnier hits a grand slam instead of a mere home run, catapulting a piece of B genre heaven into a genuine masterclass of suspense.
Its tension doesn’t come from traditional audience/director alchemy or jump-scare tactics, but palpable fear and a clear understanding of the capabilities of the protagonists and the assailants. Every decrepit crevice and crumbling texture stands against the menacing order of the villains, rampantly forming a contrast between modernity and age old history. Saulnier doesn’t delve too far into political details, but nonetheless, things get messy, and origins and stereotypes create immediate separation; an interior resentment manifested in physical barriers and volatile weaponry.In an age where violence is mistaken for action or comic-book battles, it’s invigorating to see a director take outbursts of carnage and assemble the storytelling around it instead of displaying it as the main attraction, placing the core ramifications on the center stage. In Green Room, injury and death, stabbings and shootings, infliction and pain are evoked without restraint but with an equal amount of respect, servicing character progress and the ferocious lifeblood of the tension so that the story may culminate in a natural, logical end. Still, even with Saulnier’s deft, poetic eye, it’s extremely grisly; playing like a symphony of cracks, groans, shotgun blasts, and cries of anguish. It’s nasty, but strangely beautiful in its relation to the characters, their situation, and the place they find themselves in.
It’s Punk Rock Cult Film
Saulnier brings empathy, detail, and a kind of militancy to the characters within Green Room. Anton Yelchin and Imogen Poots are great, but Patrick Stewart as Darcy is a chilling, spooky phantom of a character with a lingering power behind his mannerisms and movement. He’s absolutely terrifying, and truly a force of nature. His performance brings out much of the elemental viciousness (it’s also very similar to Blue Ruin in this regard) planted within the surrounding environment and the setup thrown onto the protagonists (and likewise, the audience), for the night feels inseparable from his life force. Otherworldly control by conversation and eventual aggression would be at the very top of Darcy’s neo-Nazi resume.
But it’s the pure, pulse-pounding, cutthroat horror show that’ll hook many genre fans, and even on that central level (ignoring its Grade-A utilization of geography and the character dynamics shown through physical acts, mostly of the violent variety), it’s certifiably insane cinema; a literal heart-stopper odyssey feeding off of the lucid electricity and the primal overdoses of hate and fury. Either back the fuck up or prepare to have your face melt right down into your own shoes.