GREEN ROOM [London Film Festival 2015]

PrintE-mail Written by Peter Turner

If you weren't lucky enough to catch Jeremy Saulnier's previous film Blue Ruin, do yourself a favour and rectify the situation. If you have seen the early Coen-inspired black comedy thriller, then you'll know that Saulnier is a director to be keeping your eye on. Following Blue Ruin with Green Room, if he can just move on to a new project called Red... something, we might just have a new Cornetto trilogy on our hands.

But Green Room is more John Carpenter than Edgar Wright. Unlike Wright's jump from zombies to action cop comedy, Saulnier has switched genres only slightly, moving from stripped down indie thriller to stripped-down siege movie. Its mood might be similar to Blue Ruin, but it’s a hell of a lot more violent.

Punk band Ain't Rights are going nowhere fast, playing crappy gigs and siphoning petrol just to keep their clapped-out tour van running. After an interview with a local journalist and a disappointing take from their latest gig, they hear of a backwoods gig where they can make some quick and easy cash. The only rub is the clientele at the venue are far right (or are they extreme left?) nutters and Ain't Right don't help matters by opening with a cover of The Dead Kennedy’s Nazi Punks.

However, the poop really hits the fan when they witness a murder backstage in the green room and find themselves trapped in the venue by those who don't want them to get out alive. Led by Patrick Stewart's gang leader and venue owner, an army of skinhead 'red laces' are soon lining up to pick off the band members of Ain't Rights one by one.

Forget Assault on Precinct 13, at least the victims in that had a whole police station to hide in. In Green Room, it's literally just that. One room. The claustrophobia is palpable, particularly as one of the Nazi thugs is trapped in the room with the band. Saulnier builds the tension gradually with plenty of time to get to know the characters before any blood spills.

But when first blood is drawn, it is quick, relentless and incredibly vicious. There will be no prisoners and no one is safe as the bodies soon start to pile up. Like Blue Ruin, Saulnier makes this far more tense by having his main characters being just a little bit useless at this action malarkey. Anton Yelchin, Arrested Development’s Alia Shawkat and the rest of the band can't agree on a course of action and despite many attempts to escape always end up running back to the relative safety of the green room, usually minus a band member. The best Yelchin's character can muster is a story about paintballing to try and inspire his friends, and even that gets cut off half way through.

With the death scenes so savage, the tension never lets up. Patrick Stewart is quite a menacing presence, but it’s the Nazi's dogs who have the most bite. Saulnier is a master of atmosphere with the Nazi iconography adorning the walls, an incredibly ominous score and lurking camera all adding to the sense of dread. It's not without laughs though, and if there's one criticism of Green Room, it’s that as the band members are brutally picked off there isn't enough of a reaction from the remaining survivors.

It’s a minor flaw and one that is unlikely to affect your own seat-gripping, jaw-clenching reaction to this visceral siege thriller. Saulnier may still be getting warmed up, but he's certainly proved one thing: punk's definitely not dead. A brilliant follow-up to Blue Ruin, Saulnier carves his way into the hall of fame of thriller directors with Green Room. So nerve-shredding, it will make your whole body hurt.

GREEN ROOM / CERT: TBC / DIRECTOR & SCREENPLAY: JEREMY SAULNIER / STARRING: ANTON YELCHIN, IMOGEN POOTS, ALIA SHAWKAT, PATRICK STEWART / RELEASE DATE: TBC

Expected Rating: 8 out of 10

Actual Rating: 
 


If you weren't lucky enough to catch Jeremy Saulnier's previous film Blue Ruin, do yourself a favour and rectify the situation. If you have seen the early Coen-inspired black comedy thriller, then you'll know that Saulnier is a director to be keeping your eye on. Following Blue Ruin with Green Room, if he can just move on to a new project called Red... something, we might just have a new Cornetto trilogy on our hands.

 

But Green Room is more John Carpenter than Edgar Wright. Unlike Wright's jump from zombies to action cop comedy, Saulnier has switched genres only slightly, moving from stripped down indie thriller to stripped-down siege movie. Its mood might be similar to Blue Ruin, but it’s a hell of a lot more violent.

 

Punk band Ain't Rights are going nowhere fast, playing crappy gigs and siphoning petrol just to keep their clapped-out tour van running. After an interview with a local journalist and a disappointing take from their latest gig, they hear of a backwoods gig where they can make some quick and easy cash. The only rub is the clientele at the venue are far right (or are they extreme left?) nutters and Ain't Right don't help matters by opening with a cover of The Dead Kennedy’s Nazi Punks.

 

However, the poop really hits the fan when they witness a murder backstage in the green room and find themselves trapped in the venue by those who don't want them to get out alive. Led by Patrick Stewart's gang leader and venue owner, an army of skinhead 'red laces' are soon lining up to pick off the band members of Ain't Rights one by one.

 

Forget Assault on Precinct 13, at least the victims in that had a whole police station to hide in. In Green Room, it's literally just that. One room. The claustrophobia is palpable, particularly as one of the Nazi thugs is trapped in the room with the band. Saulnier builds the tension gradually with plenty of time to get to know the characters before any blood spills.

 

But when first blood is drawn, it is quick, relentless and incredibly vicious. There will be no prisoners and no one is safe as the bodies soon start to pile up. Like Blue Ruin, Saulnier makes this far more tense by having his main characters being just a little bit useless at this action malarkey. Anton Yelchin, Arrested Development’s Alia Shawkat and the rest of the band can't agree on a course of action and despite many attempts to escape always end up running back to the relative safety of the green room, usually minus a band member. The best Yelchin's character can muster is a story about paintballing to try and inspire his friends, and even that gets cut off half way through.

 

With the death scenes so savage, the tension never lets up. Patrick Stewart is quite a menacing presence, but it’s the Nazi's dogs who have the most bite. Saulnier is a master of atmosphere with the Nazi iconography adorning the walls, an incredibly ominous score and lurking camera all adding to the sense of dread. It's not without laughs though, and if there's one criticism of Green Room, it’s that as the band members are brutally picked off there isn't enough of a reaction from the remaining survivors.

 

It’s a minor flaw and one that is unlikely to affect your own seat-gripping, jaw-clenching reaction to this visceral siege thriller. Saulnier may still be getting warmed up, but he's certainly proved one thing: punk's definitely not dead. A brilliant follow-up to Blue Ruin, Saulnier carves his way into the hall of fame of thriller directors with Green Room. So nerve-shredding, it will make your whole body hurt.

GREEN ROOM / CERT: TBC / DIRECTOR & SCREENPLAY: JEREMY SAULNIER / STARRING: ANTON YELCHIN, IMOGEN POOTS, ALIA SHAWKAT, PATRICK STEWART / RELEASE DATE: TBC

Expected Rating: 8 out of 10

Actual Rating:If you weren't lucky enough to catch Jeremy Saulnier's previous film Blue Ruin, do yourself a favour and rectify the situation. If you have seen the early Coen-inspired black comedy thriller, then you'll know that Saulnier is a director to be keeping your eye on. Following Blue Ruin with Green Room, if he can just move on to a new project called Red... something, we might just have a new Cornetto trilogy on our hands.

 

But Green Room is more John Carpenter than Edgar Wright. Unlike Wright's jump from zombies to action cop comedy, Saulnier has switched genres only slightly, moving from stripped down indie thriller to stripped-down siege movie. Its mood might be similar to Blue Ruin, but it’s a hell of a lot more violent.

 

Punk band Ain't Rights are going nowhere fast, playing crappy gigs and siphoning petrol just to keep their clapped-out tour van running. After an interview with a local journalist and a disappointing take from their latest gig, they hear of a backwoods gig where they can make some quick and easy cash. The only rub is the clientele at the venue are far right (or are they extreme left?) nutters and Ain't Right don't help matters by opening with a cover of The Dead Kennedy’s Nazi Punks.

 

However, the poop really hits the fan when they witness a murder backstage in the green room and find themselves trapped in the venue by those who don't want them to get out alive. Led by Patrick Stewart's gang leader and venue owner, an army of skinhead 'red laces' are soon lining up to pick off the band members of Ain't Rights one by one.

 

Forget Assault on Precinct 13, at least the victims in that had a whole police station to hide in. In Green Room, it's literally just that. One room. The claustrophobia is palpable, particularly as one of the Nazi thugs is trapped in the room with the band. Saulnier builds the tension gradually with plenty of time to get to know the characters before any blood spills.

 

But when first blood is drawn, it is quick, relentless and incredibly vicious. There will be no prisoners and no one is safe as the bodies soon start to pile up. Like Blue Ruin, Saulnier makes this far more tense by having his main characters being just a little bit useless at this action malarkey. Anton Yelchin, Arrested Development’s Alia Shawkat and the rest of the band can't agree on a course of action and despite many attempts to escape always end up running back to the relative safety of the green room, usually minus a band member. The best Yelchin's character can muster is a story about paintballing to try and inspire his friends, and even that gets cut off half way through.

 

With the death scenes so savage, the tension never lets up. Patrick Stewart is quite a menacing presence, but it’s the Nazi's dogs who have the most bite. Saulnier is a master of atmosphere with the Nazi iconography adorning the walls, an incredibly ominous score and lurking camera all adding to the sense of dread. It's not without laughs though, and if there's one criticism of Green Room, it’s that as the band members are brutally picked off there isn't enough of a reaction from the remaining survivors.

 

It’s a minor flaw and one that is unlikely to affect your own seat-gripping, jaw-clenching reaction to this visceral siege thriller. Saulnier may still be getting warmed up, but he's certainly proved one thing: punk's definitely not dead. A brilliant follow-up to Blue Ruin, Saulnier carves his way into the hall of fame of thriller directors with Green Room. So nerve-shredding, it will make your whole body hurt.

GREEN ROOM / CERT: TBC / DIRECTOR & SCREENPLAY: JEREMY SAULNIER / STARRING: ANTON YELCHIN, IMOGEN POOTS, ALIA SHAWKAT, PATRICK STEWART / RELEASE DATE: TBC

Expected Rating: 8 out of 10

Actual Rating: 


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