Green Room Review - Truthful Performances in Rare Depiction

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Green Room, from Broad Green Pictures, Film Science and A24, brings to the screen a rare depiction of life inside a modern neo-Nazi compound as a Seattle punk band becomes targeted after witnessing the aftermath of a murder.

Written and Directed by Jeremy Saulnier, Green Room is led by an all-star cast including Patrick Stewart, Imogen Poots, Anton Yelchin and Alia Shawkat and also stars Joe Cole, Mark Webber, Callum Turner, Eric Justin, Taylor Tunes and Macon Blair.

Green Room begins as the camera pulls back and reveals a van stuck in a corn field. The Ain’t Rights, a fun loving, socially aware, punk rock band obviously stuck in the middle of nowhere, as our tech savvy punk band hit up Google maps with the coordinates. Finding they are hell and gone from the next town they bike over to the only ping that registers. Soon they are siphoning a gas tank and off they go.

A planned gig and interview lands them in Portland. After the interview, they find out the gig that would have netted them billing and $300.00 had been cancelled. No kill fee they play a small hole in the wall for tips which nets, after expenses, less than six bucks each.

After the slim take and very uncool actions, the punk journalist offers to set them up for a Sunday, one set, one gig, solid take and his uncle’s club.  

Happy with the prospects The Ain’t Rights,  Anton Yelchin/Pat, Alia Shawkat/Sam, Joe Cole/Reece, Callum Turner/Tiger head off down the Oregon coast following the directions, down a backroad, through a path, into the clearing.

Met by Gabe, played by Macon Blair, a quiet, unassuming, set producer, charged with maintaining calm, getting the acts on and off quickly with little down time, crowd control and general policing of the club. Guiding the band to the Green Room, he explains the gig.

Carrying the equipment through the bar they discover they are in a Neo-Nazi, Skinhead, only club and they are the next set. So they decide on a We Hate Neo Nazi's song.  Surprisingly, the crowd actually listens to them and violence breaks out.

They play the set, are paid and heading out when Pat/Yelchin forgets his phone charger. He turns to head back, over the protest of Gabe, opens the door in a swift movement grabs the phone without paying any attention, turns and it is as if time stops. On the floor he sees the evidence of a murder, a female dead.

Running for the only door, down a tight, barely lite hallway, in an unknown club, he manages a 911 call all before Gabe, the voice of reason and calm, ushers everyone back to the green room while they wait for the police.

Maintaining appearances, Gabe, has everyone leave the room except for Amber, played by Imogen Poots, with unknown loyalties, and a security guard, Big Justin, played by Eric Edelstein.

Understanding where the kids are coming from, to them, yes a crime was committed, obviously someone was dead, and after trying diplomatic solution, explaining we’re humble rockers, simply wanting to leave which falls on deaf ears, the bandmates find themselves stuck.

Fear, claustrophobia, a women murdered clouds their thinking and the only one who knows the layout is Amber and her loyalty is unknown. Without her, they are dead, with her they may escape. The goal is to live.

We met Patrick Stewart at this point. The charismatic leader, Darcy Banker. A man accustomed to running his compound and brainwashing his subjects. His skill is finding the Achilles heel. Finding the one point that he can drill down and get you to believe the new found religious devotion is your choice.

Soon Darcy has a Red Lace army, the designation isn’t revealed until later in the film, when a pivotal moment arises and a loyalty kill is necessary.

Amber as a devotee planning an escapee, with Daniel, played by Mark Weber, is aware of the silent and deadly codes used within the organization.

What follows is a chase with life or death consequences. Until the kids adopt the mindset of kill or be killed, which is operating outside conditioned behavior, they remain targets. Normal, even slacker punk rockers who love for their art, are conditioned to live and let live.

Neo-Nazi Skinheads are conditioned to kill. No one leaves alive. The cult is portrayed with authenticity. Every aspect of the club and compound are regulated.

As in any suspenseful, horror film which is the genre of Green Room, a modern day shock film taken from the Neo Nazi, Aryan Nation, Skinhead, religious zealotry rage which calls for separateness from society and its pollution allowing the leadership to manage. Giving up one’s rights and individuality for the greater good the advancement of the pure race.

Darcy, the master manipulator, negotiates with an inexperienced Pat, who opens the bolted from the inside door to a trap. Suddenly chaos ensues within seconds he is pulled back into the room his arm nearly hacked off as the machete, silent and deadly, is the weapon of choice.

By chance the kids grab a machete in the fight and hack their way through the floor to a hidden basement where they find the hidden backstory. Darcy, the white supremacist leader, supplies the local community and culture with heroin. Ending all troubles with a special mix.

The Neo-Nazi skin head culture is well defined and clearly represented.

Our rockers are the pawns in a real life video game, the unarmed, unassuming, pot smoking, really we’re cool punkers who want to live and the enemy, the neo-Nazi, White Supremacist ready to die for the cause, well-armed and ready to fight, the band is simply training and represent loyalty kills.

Green Room will leave you stunned. The shocking portrayals across the board are bone chilling. Each actor plays against type. Patrick Stewart is evil personified. Anton Yelchin and Alia Shawkat are tackling roles that showcase previously unseen depth. Imogene Poots is astonishing. The entire cast surprised!

Green Room provides a thrilling, frightening, disturbing view on, in reality is, fictionalized accuracy. A docu-drama, the players exists somewhere. The film brings the depiction to the mainstream.

Green Room had its world premiere screening at the prestigious Cannes Film Festival during the Director's’ Fortnight. It was immediately picked up by A24.

Green Room opens in select theaters April 15, 2015 and expands nationally April 28, 2015.

Image courtesy of A24 and used with permission.

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