By Christian DiMartino
All fear the wrath of Patrick Stewart. Now, there’s a sentence I thought I’d never type, and yet I’m glad I did it. Because it’s true.
Stewart, mostly known for playing heroic types, is kind of horrifying in Jeremy Saulnier’s Green Room, and it’s fitting really, because the movie itself is kind of horrifying. Green Room is scary, but not for reasons you’d think. It’s more of a thriller that’s so suspenseful, any sudden movements could provoke a jump. Now THAT’S impressive filmmaking.
The film focuses on a punk rock group named The Ain’t Rights. They suck, if you ask me. But that’s besides the point. Ant0n Yelchin and Alia Shawkat play members of the band. There’s a few other members too, but I didn’t recognize them. Still though, their performances are strong. Anyways, The Ain’t Rights are on a “tour,” but they’re so illegitimate, they steal gas and what not.
The band lands a gig at some place out in the middle of the woods… which just so happens to be run by skinheads. Yikes. That said though, none of them are Jewish, so that’s not the problem. The real problem arises when one of the Ain’t Rights stumbles across a murder scene. They are told that the police are on the way (a lie), and they are locked in the room, and are forced to fight for survival. Stewart plays Darcy, the owner of the place and leader of the skinheads, and Imogen Poots plays a fellow Nazi, who joins forces with the Ain’t Rights.
So, there ya have the premise. I suppose it’s not a whole lot of a movie. For what it is though, Green Room is a complete thrill. It’s certainly not one for the queasy, especially because whatever violence there is is shockingly graphic. Look past the violence though, and what you have is a taut, tense, somewhat funny, somewhat bonkers thriller that works better than one might expect.
The performances from Yelchin, Poots, Shawkat, and the rest of the cast are all strong. Though by the end, Stewart’s performance makes the biggest impression. He’s not in it a tremendous amount, but yet he truly steals the show. He has this menacing presence that I wasn’t sure he could pull off. But oh baby, he certainly does. As soon as he enters the screen, the chilling begins, and it doesn’t end. Plus, how often do we get to hear Stewart say something like “N**ga Dope?” I’m no racist, but hearing that come from his mouth was the highlight of my life.
I admit that on occasion Green Room feels a little redundant, and it might be due to the simplicity of the premise. But yet it’s all pulled off so well,and it’s so engrossing, it’s fairly easy to ignore.