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'Green Room' Film Review: The siege-thriller gets punk'd

April 29, 2016Ben Mk



   
Star Trek fans take note, for Green Room stars not one, but two of the franchise's actors: Anton Yelchin, who plays Pavel Chekov in the JJ Abrams reboots, and Patrick Stewart, the former captain of the Enterprise D. The film itself, however, is about as far removed from the Star Trek universe as you can get, pitting Yelchin and Stewart against one another, as a musician and a neo-Nazi leader.

Yelchin plays Pat, bassist for underground punk rock outfit the Ain't Rights. He, guitarist Sam (Alia Shawkat), drummer Reece (Joe Cole) and lead singer Tiger (Callum Turner) have been trekking across America's west coast in their beat-up van, siphoning gas from other vehicles and playing low-paying gig after low-paying gig along the way. Their journey has brought them to a small town for an interview with an indie radio station; but it's what happens next that sets into motion a terrifying chain of events — one from which not all of them will escape alive.

When the band's latest gig sees them playing for an audience of skinheads in a seedy, backwoods bar, they do what any self-respecting anarchists would do: they kick off their set with a cover of the Dead Kennedys' "Nazi Punks Fuck Off." Surprisingly, the move ends up winning over the crowd. But then, just as they're about to hightail it back to civilization, Pat stumbles across a murder scene; and the four friends find themselves forcibly confined to the green room, while the bar's owner, a man named Darcy (Stewart), is called in to decide how to contain the situation.

What follows is about an hour and fifteen minutes of nail-biting tension. Because if it wasn't already obvious from the band's dire situation, then Amber (Imogen Poots), who's also trapped in the green room with them, makes it abundantly clear: while they pace back and forth between the four walls that surround them, Darcy is busy gathering his most loyal followers, with the intent to storm the room and slaughter the lot of them. So if they're to have any hope of survival, they're going to have to either make a courageous stand or devise an ingenious escape.

Of course, the latter is the preferred choice. But as the film goes on, the group finds their numbers dwindling and themselves slowly but surely running out of options, until they have no alternative but to face their attackers head-on. At that point, writer/director Jeremy Saulnier transforms Green Room from a story of slow-burning suspense into a gory thriller, one that doesn't shy away from showing audiences the bloody aftermath of an attack by a vicious fight dog, or what happens when a rusty box cutter is used to slice someone's stomach open.

The movie is also extremely light on humor, at least for the first two-thirds of its runtime, which will probably make it even more difficult to sit through if you're the squeamish type. Otherwise, if it sounds like Green Room ventures into torture porn territory, rest assured; it has more in common with a film like Dredd than it does with movies like Saw or Hostel. Though there are definitely elements of revenge-thrillers present in its DNA, Green Room is, at its core, a crowd-pleasing, underdog action flick. In fact, just think of it as Die Hard by way of Straw Dogs.


Green Room releases April 29th, 2016 from D Films. The film has an MPAA rating of R for strong brutal graphic violence, gory images, language and some drug content. Its runtime is 1 Hr. 34 Mins.








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