Director: Jeremy Saulnier Written by: Jeremy Saulnier Stars: Anton Yelchin, Imogen Poots, Alia Shawkat
“Down on their luck punk rockers The Ain’t Rights are finishing up a long and unsuccessful tour, and are about to call it quits when they get an unexpected booking at an isolated, run-down club deep in the backwoods of Oregon. What seems merely to be a third-rate gig escalates into something much more sinister when they witness an act of violence backstage that they weren’t meant to see. Now trapped backstage, they must face off against the club’s depraved owner, Darcy Banker (Patrick Stewart), a man who will do anything to protect the secrets of his nefarious enterprise.”
Tough, tense and brutal, Saulnier’s Green Room is not easy viewing. Right from the outset the off-kilter camera angles, dim lighting and grimy sets give the viewer the clear markers for the film that is to follow.
Saulnier doesn’t take his time with a lengthy set-up, dropping viewers almost directly into the main narrative. We see that life on the road for The Ain’t Rights is every bit as glamorous as you’d expect from an unknown punk band with no social media presence, seeing them having to siphon fuel to keep their van on the road, but that’s where the back-story ends.
They soon find themselves playing a misjudged cover of The Dead Kennedy’s ‘Nazi Punks Fuck Off’ to a less-than-receptive room full of skinheads, and so the game of cat and mouse begins.
Part Assault on Precinct 13, part Halloween, all 80’s aesthetic and seemingly an homage to John Carpenter, Green Room will have audiences covering their eyes with their hands and jumping out of their seats.
Let down somewhat by flimsy characterisation, the all-pervading tension is not matched by any kind of emotional investment in the characters, aside that is from the late Anton Yelchin’s subtle portrayal of the savvy Pat, the one band member who seems to rise above mere caricature.
Gory, grimy and uncompromising, Green Room is a gritty exercise in the uncomfortable.
7 out of 10