Green Room Blu-ray review
Bands—that is, bands far from signing with even a minor label—will do about anything to save money and survive. They’ll sleep on couches, siphon gas, take poor-paying gigs in dimly lit bars…It allows them to try to make a name and to scrounge up enough cash to get to the next town.
The Ain’t Rights—Pat (Anton Yelchin, in what would end up being his final movie before his death at 27), Sam (Alia Shawkat, best known as Maeby on ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT), Tiger (Callum Turner, John Boorman’s QUEEN AND COUNTRY) and Reece (Joe Cole, the BBC Two series PEAKY BLINDERS)—are a punk band from the D.C. area traveling the Northwest in search of an audience and money to put towards recording a 7”. After too many bad interviews and too little money, they’re promised a headlining spot at a club.
It’s a joint swarming with neo-Nazis. Despite opening with the Dead Kennedys’ “Nazi Punks F*ck Off,” the show goes relatively well. Backstage, not so much. In the green room after the show, Pat comes across a dead body. And like that, the band is probably missing those $6 per member gigs.
The club is owned by the sinister Darcy (Patrick Stewart, displaying a far different side than seen on his Instagram—no parasols or buddy shots with Ian McKellen here), who makes the decision to get rid of the witnesses. While locked inside with one of the more oversized henchmen, the Ain’t Rights, along with a friend of the victim, Amber (Imogen Poots, Peter Bogdanovich’s SHE’S FUNNY THAT WAY), team up to make it out of the green room alive. This won’t be easy and things will get bloody, with hackings, stabbings and flesh-hungry dogs.
Finding a dead body is a fairly unoriginal and typical way to launch the plot of a thriller, just as stumbling across a decrepit building is easy to trigger the events of a horror flick. In this, GREEN ROOM is standard. Most of what follows the first 20 minutes is a bit more shocking.
Writer/director Jeremy Saulnier (2013’s BLUE RUIN) clearly cares to make his third feature a gruesome one, a point elevated more so considering Patrick Stewart plays the lead villain. Still, it falls into many of the same issues that hurt so many other movies of its genre. A chief one is that the viewer doesn’t necessarily have all that much reason to care about the characters. While the audience may initially root for the band to get out of the club with their $300, it’s not too long before we realize that many of them will be part of the body count—and we aren’t exactly invested in one making it out before another.
Still, there are elements that serve to indicate that Saulnier has a keen eye and ear for what works in such a movie. In addition to Stewart’s strong, frightening performance (really the only standout turn in the movie), Saulnier utilizes often claustrophobic cinematography by Sean Porter, an effective score by Brooke and Will Blair and an occasionally smart screenplay that works in its themes.
Video: 2.40:1 in 1080p with MPEG-4 AVC codec. Details are strong, black levels are deep and contrast is nice.
Audio: English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio. Subtitles in English and Spanish. The Brooke/Will Blair score comes through nicely and the SFX come through surround speakers with intended effect.
Audio commentary with writer/director Jeremy Saulnier: Saulnier offers a strong track in which he discusses the making of GREEN ROOM, with attention on the origins, cast, themes and more.
Into the Pit: Making GREEN ROOM (9:58): Accompanied by on-set footage and clips, Saulnier, Patrick Stewart, Anton Yelchin, Imogen Poots and more touch on the production of GREEN ROOM.