Two Star Trek alum star in Jeremy Saulnier’s Green Room, Anton Yelchin and Patrick Stewart (in a way you’ve never seen him before), and with a couple of other recognizable faces like Imogen Poots and Alia Shawkat, Saulnier is intent on plunging the viewer into a gruelling and brutal experience as a punk band attempts to survive the night in a neo-Nazi bar.
Pat (Yelchin) is a guitarist, and he and his punk band have been out on a tour of sorts, and are just trying to make enough money to make it back home. So on a recommendation, they take one last gig that should get their pitiful coffers over the top in terms of gas money.
They find themselves playing in a remote location, at a crappy bar that is the hangout for all the local skinheads and neo-Nazis, a group that is run and organized by Darcy (Stewart). Not a group to turn down a gig, they do their set and are packing up to go when Pat sees something he shouldn’t and very soon the group finds themselves boarding themselves up in the bar’s green room, hoping to barter their way out, reach the police, and maybe just survive, but the odds are stacked against them as Darcy unleashes his men (and dogs) on them.
Brutal, nail-bitingly tense, and feeling a little too realistic at times, Pat and his friends attempt to find a way out of the building. But even if they get out, won’t there be more skinheads waiting for them outside, Darcy seems to have planned for every contingency.
Getting to watch Stewart play against type is amazing, and Yelchin was an amazing talent that was taken from us way too soon. Saulnier uses both of them brilliantly and ratchets the tension throughout the film until the viewer is on the edge of their seat.
The violence is brutal, and while there are some moments of gore, it’s all surprisingly restrained, though some of the shots are jarring and shocking, exactly as they are intended to be.
As the night progresses there are fatalities on both sides, and you’re left to wonder who will survive, who will get their comeuppance, and of those who will survive, will they have learned?
I really enjoyed digging into this one, there’s some great work by the actors, and by the crew who helped create a claustrophobic atmosphere with set design, framing and lighting. It’s a great little thriller that is very much worth a look, not only for the fantastic actors involved but for the narrative, and how it all plays out.
I really dug this one.