Very rarely do I find myself caught up in the hype that surrounds a movie before I actually see the thing. It’s almost impossible for any movie to live up to the expectations that can be cooked up in the human brain. Unfortunately for me, that was the case with Green Room. In all fairness, it’s a new movie by one of my favorite up-and-coming directors, and features several actors who I have a ton of respect for. Director Jeremy Saulnier had a very impressive — albeit criminally underseen — debut Halloween-themed horror comedy called Murder Party. While I loved the film, and a lot of super-Halloween horror geeks have added it to their annual Halloween playlist, it was his next film, Blue Ruin in 2014 that got everybody’s attention. Star Macon Blair would return with him to portray a different kind of broken man seeking revenge. Blue Ruin solidified Saulnier and Blair as two artists to keep an eye on, and greatly anticipate any and all future releases.
When details of Green Room started trickling out, that it would be the new film directed by Jeremy Saulnier, that Macon Blair would be involved in some capacity, that Patrick Stewart would be playing a skinhead, and that the excellent Imogen Poots and the unfortunately recently deceased and brilliant Anton Yelchin would have major roles, the hype train left the station. All fans of Sulnier’s work began salivating at every morsel that was revealed. Then people started seeing it, and words like “best movie of the year” were thrown around. My imagination went wild, and I built the perfect movie in my head, before seeing a single second of the movie. On that front, it led to a little disappointment on my part when I finally watched Green Room. It’s a phenomenal movie, and it deserves every bit of praise it has and is receiving. My other mistake was watching the batshit Hardcore Henry a couple of hours before, which might have desensitized me a little, due to the hundreds of exploding heads.
I don’t know what I expected from Patrick Stewart’s performance. After hearing how good he was in the movie, I guess I thought it would be a different size of Stewart, one that we haven’t seen yet. The problem is, Stewart is such a rounded, versatile and beast-like actor that he’s seen and done it all, and so have we. I’m not saying he wasn’t great in the movie, just that, he’s always great, so expect more of that and less of some new hidden dark talents that he tapped just for this movie. Yelchin and Poots are both great, and actually, every actor involved did a super job. The band members and Macon Blair’s middle-management character in particular were very enjoyable to watch. Pardon the minor spoilers, but there is a scene in a bar, where Yelchin and his Band members are sorta forced to performing in front of a crowd of neo-nazi skinheads, and they open the show by covering DK’s Nazi Punks Fuck Off. It’s a great sequence, even if I somehow predicted it was going to happen.
The violence and makeup effects in this movie are brutal. One wound in particular that a character suffers will traumatize the less-seasoned viewers. This is a smaller movie though, so that violence is fewer and further between what people expecting a non-stop “brutal” movie will be expecting. It’s a slow-going affair, but it never stops being entertaining, and when it gets around to the gory stuff, the payoff is definitely worth the investment. I’m looking forward to revisiting the movie in a month or so with a cleansed palate. If you like this new trend of stylistically gritty and grim, brutal and dirty, but surprisingly excellent B-movie tales, such as this, Cold in July, or Saulnier’s previous movie, Blue Ruin, you’re going to love Green Room. Lionsgate will release the movie on Blu-ray, DVD, and the very many forms of digital on the 12th of July. The bonus content on the disc includes a “Making Of’ featurette titled Into the Pit: Making Green Room” as well as a director’s commentary.