2016’s best film is an unrelenting horror thriller hybrid that will have you on the edge of your seat
In a year that has been full to the brim with juggernaut clashes like Batman Vs Superman, it’s surprising to see a film that is essentially angst ridden punks vs terrifying and antagonising nazis be the best battle of the year. From the twisted mind of genius director Jeremy Saulnier, Green Room manages to put these blockbusters to shame with its authenticity and intense nature that is present from the get go and remains for the films 95 minute long running time.
The premise of Green Room is relatively simple but the amount of heart put into the films manages to flesh out what could have easily been a cat and mouse film where we root on the villains. The Ain’t Rights are your classic punk band: poor, potty mouthed and most importantly pissed off. After arriving at a far right club to perform, the band find themselves trapped in the, surprise surprise, Green Room while under threat from a pack of neo nazis after they witness the death of someone.
A lot of the first act helps to not only establish the struggles of our punk protagonists but helps to make the film a true love letter to punk. Having adored the movement from a young age, Saulnier packs in a lot of passion into this project and manages to use it in various ways throughout the film which can be felt through the unrelenting, aggressive aura that Green Room radiates.
“Fear him. Hate him. Loathe him. Condemn him. But you’ll never forget him” says the trailer for Green Room, helping to solidify Patrick Stewart’s menacing nazi bar owner character as a force to be reckoned with. The acts he and his pack of deviants commits as well as the sinister portrayal Stewart delivers is what makes Green Room equal parts horror and thriller with the only complaint being that we don’t get to see enough of him. Despite that, the moments that Stewart is on screen are the undisputed highlights of the film.
The film toys not only with its characters but the viewers themselves, leaving us in a vulnerable state just as the credits roll.Saulnier stated”it’s a war film where on one side of the door are professional soldiers, and on the other side of the door are clearly inept protagonists – it’s total amateur night inside that room” but with his professional flare, we get to see the true extent to which these characters go through, at some points verging into sadistic territory.
It would be a sin not to mention how beautifully shot Green Room is. As beautifully put by its director, the film benefits from “being set in a punk rock and hardcore venue is you get a haunted house. A real one”. A gritty and rough setting is yet another perfect staple of punk, one that can make the viewer almost as uncomfortable as its visceral and nauseating gore.
Just as punk is defined as a a loud, fast-moving, and aggressive form of music, so to is Green Room a visceral and dynamic thriller that never lets up. The execution from Saulnier is yet again perfect, making his track record along with Blue Ruin a golden run thus far. You’ll leave the cinema with a new found respect for anarchy and hate for nazis: not that you didn’t already.
– Liam Menzies