Jeremy Saulnier is back and on top-form with Green Room, his passion project and first film since indie revenge classic, Blue Ruin.
Read our full review below.
So after the success of Blue Ruin it was inevitable that Saulnier’s next feature would be bigger and badder. Saulnier knew himself that the longer he waited then the less likely he would get to make a movie like Green Room, and because of its success, Blue Ruin helped pave the way for that. He wasn’t wrong either, Saulnier has now been signed up for his first big studio production, so if this film wasn’t made when it was , we probably would have never have seen it…so cheers, Mr Saulnier, for pushing to get this out there. This project was a tribute to his friends, to punk rock music, and to gore and horror.
Green Room opens with a struggling punk band called, The ain’t Rights – after getting screwed over with pay from a gig, they are promised proper cash if they play a gig for a load of right-wing neo-Nazi skinheads . Uncertain but broke as fuck they decide to go ahead and play the gig.
When they arrive they decide to open their set with a cover of Dead Kennedy’s “Nazi Punks Fuck Off” – as you can probably guess, this is not the first song you would imagine a band playing when opening a set for a bunch of drunk skinheads. We can tell from the first few seconds just how menacing some of the characters are going to be by the reactions of some of the crowd.
When the bassist goes to collect the cash from the show he is advised to get out of the building. He forgets his phone charger and stumbles on a group of skinheads hovering over a dead body – he tries to call the cops and report the crime but gets cut-off instantly – the band get caught and trapped in the Green Room along with the dead person’s friend, a young female skinhead (played brilliantly and very unexpectedly by Imogen Poots).
This is when the skinheads decide that its time they got their boss onboard to sort this mess out – they call Darcy who arrives and informs The Ain’t Rights that “things have gone south. This won’t end well”. The lead villain in the movie (as you all already know) is played by Patrick Stewart – it’s the first time anyone has seen him in a role and the man does it to perfection , so much, that I got chills hearing him delivering his lines. It’s not that Darcy is crazy, he is calm, he is creepy, and extremely unpredictable. He is the mastermind behind this plan and he has an army of deranged skinheads that see him as a godlike figure and will do anything that he asks – even if it means certain death.
That is all I will say about the plot – I have not revealed anything, as what I have mentioned above is in the official plot – its best for you to witness this little gem knowing as little as possible.
Green Room has been described as a horror and I can confirm that this couldn’t be more true. Although we don’t have any supernatural, vampires, werewolves, zombies or serial-killers, Green Room is still very much a horror, and a hardcore one at that.
Drenched in nail-biting tension Green Room offers a completely different type of intensity than Blue Ruin – Blue Ruin was tense as fuck from a suspense and revenge POV – Green Room is tense as fuck from a survival POV with constant state of dread and unpredictability flowing up to the end credits.
One thing that Saulnier does perfectly is that he gives us flawed characters, flawed heroes – Dwight from Blue Ruin was certainly no Liam Neeson when came to carrying out his acts of revenge, and the same goes from our leads in this movie – they have no idea what they’re at, how to fight, but it’s fight-or-die, it’s that simple – even if the only weapon you have is a busted lightbulb.
This makes the viewing more tense and when the body – count starts to rise, we don’t know who is gonna go next , or what vicious, inventive way they are going to meet their fate, and that goes for both sides – the punks and the skinheads.
Macon Blair plays the smaller but very important role of skinhead with a conscious, and club manager, Gabe ( I read in an interview that Saulnier did with movies.ie about how Macon Blair ended up getting the role in Green Room, a lot of you may think that he had it in the bag but that wasn’t the case. I love this…
Did you deliberately not have Macon Blair in the lead again on this film, since he was such a big part of ‘Blue Ruin’?
JS: He was such a big part of ‘Blue Ruin’ that I didn’t want him in ‘Green Room’, but he’s not the lead actor… If Macon was 15 years younger he’d be Pat, he’d be the main character. I was like ‘You can help me produce it and be my creative partner’ – which he was – but he also stuck around and submitted a self taped video audition, as a skinhead. He got his hair cropped very short, he got temporary tattoos of an eagle and a Swastika and he delivered an amazing reading. He won me over and earned the role fair and square; that was great because it wasn’t like I was throwing him a bone.
The cast include Anton Yelchin (Fright Night), Alia Shawkat (Aressted Development), Imogen Poots (That Awkward Moment, Filth), Joe Cole (John Shelby from Peaky Blinders, Also in recent remake of Argentinian thriller The Secret In Their Eyes) , Callum Turner ( Victor Frankenstein), Patrick Stewart (X-Men), Macon blair (Blue Ruin) and Mark Webber, (13 Sins).
Green Room is now playing in cinemas across the UK and Ireland and I really can’t tell you how important it is that we go and show our support for a film like this. Go check it out if it’s in a cinema near you …..I will be going again on Friday.
Green Room easily earns 11/10