The Green Room is a brilliant piece of gripping, in-your-face cinema. This high end splatterfest comes to theaters from the mind of the always incredible Jeremy Saulnier. Focusing on the plight of an obscure punk band who, while performing a show at a dive bar/white supremacist headquarters in the middle of the woods in the Pacific Northwest, find themselves in an awful situation. Early on in the film Saulnier gives us his working thesis: that some experiences are meant to fill you with emotion, to strike a primal chord in the audience and then to be over; leaving you sick and overwhelmed with emotion, the ghostly image of what you were a witness to, a part of, trapped in your subconscious. This is exactly what The Green Room does. After introducing us to the group of likeable punks, who show us that they are not sympathetic to the extreme alt-right agenda of the bar that they are playing at by opening with The Dead Kennedys’ “Nazi Punks F**k Off,” and having us experience the insanity of the crowd as they romp and stomp to the music, Saulnier begins building up the experience as things go horribly wrong for the band. Just like any good concert, and the film really did have the pacing of the best concerts, the intensity and violence ebb and flow, dragging us along to the bloody and well earned denouement.
What most people reading this are wondering, what they are probably only reading this for, is to find out what Patrick Stewart is doing in this film. He plays Darby, the owner of the establishment that the band is trapped in and the leader of the group assaulting them. Stewart plays Darby with cool and calculated consideration and delivers a truly banal character, one that is chilling and terrifying at turns.
I mentioned above that Saulnier has made a splatterfest of a film, and he really has. The gore on display is pitch perfect and brutal but the best part is that it never takes center stage. It is always in the moment and very honest, which sounds strange: “honest gore.” But that is exactly what it is, even at its most shocking the violence on display is never just for shock’s sake, it is earned and it drives the story: either by further tarnishing the souls of our beleaguered protagonists or to drive the story forward with madness and chaos.
This film is one that should be seen, by you and this weekend, in theaters. It is a pure, adrenaline-pumping film, one that will not leave your mind for days to come.