Directed by Jeremy Saulnier
Starring: Patrick Stewart, Anton Yelchin, Imogen Potts, Joe Cole, Callum Turner, Alia Shawcat, Macon Blair
Film Review by Colin Lomas
Hard core punk band the Ain’t Rights are on a tour of America in their small splitter van; singer Tiger (Turner), guitarist Pat (Yelchin), bassist Sam (Shawcat) and drummer Reece (Cole) managing to travel between venues only by syphoning fuel from parked cars and feeding on incredibly limited supplies. When one of their gigs is cancelled and replaced by an embarrassing affair in a local café, the guilt-ridden local promoter secures the band a matinee gig for his cousin paying two hundred dollars and with the guarantee of a sizeable crowd. After performing in front of a room full of boot-and-braces Neo-Nazis, the band stumble across a situation in the dressing room which results in them being kept captive by the club workers with fellow detainee Amber (Potts) until owner Darcy (Stewart) arrives to attempt to resolve matters. What follows is the story of the band attempting to escape from the venue with their lives.
Green Room seriously suffers from a lack of identity. At points it feels like a slasher horror, at others a parodic teen comedy, yet the gore is boringly obvious and the comedy far too predictable to make any discernible impact. To truly connect with a situation of tension or terror, it’s imperative that an audience can relate to the actions of the characters, and at no point does this happen. A constant feeling of ‘Why would you do that?’ rings throughout and soon becomes irritating. The script is boringly fatuous and lacks any spark of originality. The narrative aches for a twist or two yet none is ever forthcoming as the linear plot frustratingly ambles along, clumsily and thoughtlessly linking the various action set pieces.
Stewart’s odd slurred accent makes him incredibly difficult to understand and there are points early on where the dialogue is almost completely incoherent. Although the band members all pull off acceptable performances, the ridiculousness of their actions and total lack of any personality, complexity or charm afford them neither empathy nor concern. Only bar manager Gabe (Blair) displays any depth or moral uncertainty about proceedings, and it’s telling that his half-decent performance outshines the rest by a country mile.
The accuracy of the filthy punk venue is visually rewarding and the musical dialogue reference points are diverse enough to feel true, but unfortunately that’s where the realism ends. The ending prolongs the frustration, merely dwindling away with no particular sense of finality or impact.
Green Room is a muddled, juvenile affair and, but for Stewart’s baffling decision to be cast, would have deservingly missed out on any showings at the multiplexes and tumbled headfirst straight to Netflix.
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