What was going to be an upbeat and high-spirited review must now be solemn in tone due to the sudden and surprising death of Green Room’s leading actor, Anton Yelchin.
Green Room is terrific. There are no two ways about that for me. Personally, it was one of my most anticipated films of the year and, so far, ranks just behind The Hateful Eight as the best.
The film follows a punk band who find themselves trapped in a room, hunted by their neo-Nazi hosts following a gruesome discovery. There is no dichotomy between punk and violence here. This film enjoys displaying how the two correlate and how the punks respond to an escalation towards violence. The music in the film is original and authentic. It isn’t a genre of music which appeals to me but in the context of the film, it’s effective.
Green Room boasts the kind of vigour and self-understanding which few films are able to achieve. It is acutely aware of the scope it needs to adopt in order to be an effective thriller. It’s a contained and tightly-controlled film, evocative of The Raid (2011), if only in how it deals with massive bursts of violence in the films small environment.
The film is effortlessly brutal. I was very surprised by how far it took it in places. It holds little regard for the protagonists and happily murders them one-by-one at any point. This may be bothersome for some people but it was refreshing for me due to the expert execution of the film. The violence is abrupt and shocking, and it only builds to make you think that no one will make it out alive.
The violence is without a doubt the greatest strength of the film. It’s very horrific and delivers on the 18 age certificate. The gore detail is realistic and superb. The violence really helps to make the pace frenetic throughout and yet give time for development in the early stages. The only issue with the pacing is that once it starts, it doesn’t stop, leading to a somewhat half baked finale.
In regards to the performances, everyone is great. Patrick Stewart is the actor you’d be most excited to see here, playing the leader of the neo-Nazis; an exciting prospect which he delivers perfectly with menace and gravitas. The supporting members of the punk group all work well and serve their archetypes well. With director Jeremy Saulnier transferring cast members from his previous film, Macon Blair does a great job here and reminds me that he needs to appear in more films.
Lastly, Anton Yelchin. He was a great talent and this film proved his acting prowess. He perfectly nails sincere vulnerability and his beats in this film proved him to be likeable and engaging when at the forefront of a film. It’s sad to lose him just as he was getting started in great films, but at least his career included a film as marvellous and stunning as this.
Written by Luke Compton