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Fight Evil With Feedback In The ‘Green Room’ (Movie Review)

Green RoomThe Green Room is one of those films that you’ll hear your colleagues in the business say you have to see, especially if you loved the raw, natural brutality that was the revenge flick Blue Ruin (see our Blu-ray review of it here) a few years back.  That’s because the Blue Ruin director, Jeremy Saulnier (listen to our interview with him over here), is back with an all new thriller starring Anton Yelchin, Imogen Poots, Alia Shawkat (Arrested Development) and Patrick Stewart.  Yes, that last name may sound odd seeing it outside of a Star Trek film, but it’s indeed Patrick Stewart in a role like you’ve never seen him before.  The film is scheduled to be released by the magnificent A24 Films (Ex Machina, Under The Skin) in a limited release on April 15, 2016 before opening wide on April 29, 2016.  I was lucky enough to check this film out an early screening at the Alamo Drafthouse this past week.  Here’s what I have to say about it all.

The premise and set up of Green Room is pretty basic, but it’s the carnage and bloody fun we have with it all that makes it so worthwhile to some.   It all goes down a little something like this as the film’s billing bluntly states.  A punk rock band witnesses a murder in a venue run by white supremacists and are forced to fight for survival against the supremacists, who are intent on covering up their crime.  Quite honestly, it’s really as simple as that.  It’s a really cheap film to make, but that’s not why we’re here.  We’re here to see and witness the unspeakable gore and body count.  Now speaking of violence, guess what character Patrick Stewart suits up to portray?   If you guessed the the ultra violent white supremacist leader, have a chicken tender on me!

Now don’t get me wrong, it’s not that Patrick Stewart’s character or performance is over-the-top, it’s just a role no one is really accustomed to seeing him in.  It’s reminiscent of a role I could see the calm, but evil demeanor of Robert England participating in, and that’s all I’ll say on the matter.  The real surprises for me were the dungy band members, including Alia Shaukat, who really stands out on her own, not because she’s the only female in the band, but because her character and actions were the most interesting to me second to the grappling wrestling moves of the other band member.  The other standout for me was the goofy looking Imogen Poots, who I can’t seem to chalk up whether her odd looks simply intrigued me or they just served as a mystery or enigma that seemed like so much more, but in retrospect it was probably a combination of the two.  I digress.

So one has to expect that when you go into a Jeremy Saulnier film you’re in for a visceral and brutal ride.  It’s not Mad Max in terms of action and mayhem, but instead more of the same from what you would expect from the Blue Ruin director, in your face, raw brutality.  However, this time out, the thriller is once again very much backwoods, but sadly less memorable for me.  While I was elated to see this one, I can’t foresee myself revisiting this one anytime soon.  That’s not to say it wasn’t a good time to be had if you love this style or genre, but it’s just more of the “same old” and the filmmakers never really took it or went to any shocking levels (besides the abrupt, unexpected kill scenes) that I was obviously hoping it would.

It’s the same old that left me with mixed feelings this past Monday night. It literally is a bunch of folks trapped in a room for the majority of the film’s runtime.  The tension and fun of it all is how do they get out.   The kill scenes were smart and quick, just like in real life and the style that you would expect from Saulnier, but my problem was it just felt like any other movie in this genre.  None of the characters really made me stand up and root for them.  Instead, I was like how long is this going to go on since if it didn’t have rules for how to kill, this movie would have been over in 30 minutes due to the extraordinary amount of evil henchmen available.  It felt like something I could easily write and have.  So yeah, I wanted and expected more, hence the somewhat lower than spectacular score I was really hoping to give this one.  However, like I said, genre fans of this style, will no doubt dig this one and eat it up.  I have no doubts about that.

So I guess what this all comes down to is the Green Room is less psychological, and more formulaic than the genius of Blue Ruin.  It’s no Empire and proof you can’t hit homers every time up at the plate.  Haha.  The set pieces and setup are rudimentary and to be honest, it just feels like very low production value, although that works well for it too due to the nature of its punk rock roots, which I dug very much (the old punk rock band member in me, hence the feedback in the review title as I found out is a nice way to deter certain kind of deadly attackers).  Now don’t throw tomatoes at me yet.  I know this is not a major Hollywood picture.  I’m not dumb.  What I am trying to say is this is an every day, cheap feeling slasher pic in my opinion and it only shines and differentiates itself when it wants to due to its high stakes times and grisliness.  Your results may vary, but it was very anti-climatic for me and I’m sticking to it.  As a side note, I’ll always be more careful of sofas from now on before I sit on them.  LOL.  Enjoy!

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Green Room Poster

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Owner/Writer/Reviewer/Editor, Dreamer, Producer, Agent of Love, Film Lover, Writer of Screenplays and a Devoted Apostle to all things Ford Mustangs (the real ones with V8's!). Some of my favorite films include FIGHT CLUB, MOULIN ROUGE, THE DARK KNIGHT, STAR WARS alongside television shows such as SEINFELD, 24, SANFORD & SON and even the often loathed in the geek community BIG BANG THEORY. Outside of my three lives I live I also enjoy spending time with my girlfriend and our three girls (of the furry kind).

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