Starring: Anton Yelchin, Imogen Poots and Patrick Stewart
Directed By: Jeremy Saulnier
Running Time: 94 minutes
Our Score: 2 out of 5 Stars
You’d think killing neo-Nazis would be more fun, or at the very least, more savagely joyful and campy. “Green Room” has the extreme close-ups of graphic violence, like broken bones and lacerations, which we’re accustomed to. We also get to watch characters use multiple tools for stabbing and pit bulls chewing out people’s throats. Sure, that’s not everyone’s cup of tea. But some movies find that gruesome sweet spot and have a lot of fun with it. However, “Green Room” feels devoid of any purpose, in its excessive gore and in its story.
The Ain’t Rights, made up of Pat (Yelchin), Sam (Alia Shawkat), Reece (Joe Cole), and Tiger (Callum Turner), find themselves playing to a room full of tattooed freaks at a white supremacist club. They’re in the middle of nowhere Oregon, playing for some pissed off skinheads, after a series of poor gig scheduling events on their end. Their current predicament isn’t helped by the fact that their setlist starts with a cover of the Dead Kennedy’s song, “Nazi Punks Fuck Off”.
After miraculously escaping their set unharmed, they prepare to leave, but accidentally witness the post-fallout of a murder in their green room. Things deteriorate quickly for the punk quartet and the hate group organizers. Weapons are drawn, hostages are taken, and the neo-Nazi leader is called in to get everything squared away. It’s only after the leader, Darcy Banker (Stewart), arrives that the Ain’t Rights truly recognize the severity of their situation.
Despite Stewart’s performance as a cold and calculating killer, there’s not a lot of tension in this concert version of “Panic Room”. Which is really unfortunate since the band is in the vast and quiet wilderness, with sociopaths at every turn. The setting is there, but the mood is lacking. A lot of it has to do with the fact that the band isn’t necessarily the brightest or most likeable. The band siphons gas because they don’t make enough money and they’re unnecessarily bitter and violent towards people they just met.
Darcy maps out every intricate detail to the neo-Nazi’s clean-up plan, which is constantly evolving and shifting based on the reactions of the band barricaded in his bar. He’s the most interesting of the characters and the movie would have benefitted more following him around a little more. But instead we’re trapped in the green room, listening to poor attempts at exposition, humor, and back story to a handful of dopey characters.
“Green Room” viewers may benefit from beers, pals, and a twisted sense of humor, but that same trio of items may have helped when writing it. Director/Writer Jeremy Saulnier definitely displays his visual prowess and his ability to create ocular terror and Yelchin and gang yam it up and find plenty of scenery to chew up, but it’s simply not enough. Once we get our fill of Nazi symbolism, hidden drug rooms, and knives to the stomach and throat, the “Green Room” is forgettable.