Another of my favourite movies of 2016, that came out of nowhere like a macabre death train, was GREEN ROOM. It scored an incredibly small limited art-house release in Australia from Rialto Distribution and then released later in the year on DVD from Reel DVD. It is sadly the final film of Anton Yelchin prior to his passing and stars two of Star Trek’s alumni, Yelchin and Patrick Stewart, in one of his more unique roles. GREEN ROOM runs for 95mins and is one of the only R18+ movies to release in Australia in 2016. I give this warning – THIS FILM IS EXTREMELY ULTRA VIOLENT.
BY JASON KING
GREEN ROOM SYNOPSIS:
A punk rock band who live for playing their tunes gets a gig at a Neo Nazi skinhead bar out in the wilderness. They accidentally witness a murder and are held hostage in a room and eventually have to fight for their lives while a bunch of evil scary Neo Nazis are trying to kill them. Captain Jean Luc Picard aka Patrick Stewart is less of the delightful chap you know and more the scary ruthless leader of the Neo Nazis. What follows is an epic violent brutal movie nearly unparalleled in recent times.
OUT OF NOWHERE:
Where did this film come from and why was it not a mainstream cult classic? It is a bloody amazing, figuratively and literally. It is a marvellously written gem from writer and director Jeremy Saulnier of BLUE RUIN fame. His writing contains some well placed dark humour in a bloodbath movie. The style of the film is more akin to 70s/ 80s horror than something from modern time and therein lies the critical love for it. GREEN ROOM is an original dark survival movie in a cinematic climate decided upon by bean counters and superhero counts.
It is visually spectacular film shot in a claustrophobic setting from Sean Porter, who gained his critical acclaim shooting KUMIKO, THE TREASURE HUNTER. It has a limited budget and Saulnier wanted to make it before he got too known and while he was still capable of making something out of the mainstream. BLUE RUIN and MURDER PARTY are both ultra violent movies. I really hope Saulner is allowed to follow this path.
The cast nails this movie. I have loved Yelchin ever since seeing ALPHA DOG ten years ago. He is bloody marvellous in this and it is a crime that he was taken so early from us. Imogen Poots (28 WEEKS LATER, FILTH) is also great holding her own in the terrifying action and Alia Shawkat is a nice punk muso addition until torn apart by a dog. The rest of the lead cast are all perfect together while facing incredible fear and odds against survival.
The music they play in the Neo Nazi bar, that is all them, Yelchin and Shawkat were already musically talented and could play their instruments but Callum Turner had no experience with any sort of music. And Joe Cole also learned to play drums specifically for this film. Bloody impressive stuff. I also loved the irony of seeing them play a cover of the Dead Kennedys’ song, “Nazi Punks Fuck Off” to a room of Neo Nazis. That is big kahunas right there.
And following on from the lead cast I would be remiss to leave out mentioning the master himself, Sir Patrick Stewart. One of the greatest actors of our time. Stewart took on a very challenging role in GREEN ROOM. A role so far from anything he has ever done that it is evident he did this one for himself alone.
From IMDB – “Patrick Stewart said in an interview that when he finished reading the script at his country home in England, it was so terrifying that he locked up his house, turned on the security system and poured himself a Scotch. He then knew that he wanted to play the Darcy Banker role because a character that horrifying would be an incredible challenge and make for a compelling film.”
STORY STORY STORY:
GREEN ROOM proves that budgets are not necessary for great movies and greater horror movies. As great film making scholars have been screaming for years and years – MAKE A GOOD STORY, THE REST WILL FOLLOW. Just, for the love of films, write a good story. STORY STORY STORY. Did I get the message across. Saulnier mastered the story. Tension, character development, pacing and most of all a perfect balance of terror splashed on the rest. GREEN ROOM is one of two perfect horror films this year, while completely different than THE WITCH they both adhere to STORY STORY STORY! And they are both art-house original movies.
GREEN ROOM is in my TOP 20 movies list for the year. This may explain why I am getting the review out when it released in July. Oops, my bad on that delay. In my TOP 20 for the year it is the most violent in the bunch. See this if you love horror and terror on an epic scale and see it just to see Patrick Stewart being one evil badass that would give Negan a run for his money. Bravo Jeremy Saulnier and thanks for a great story. And finally VALE ANTON YELCHIN – you will never be forgotten.
Jason King owns, writes and edits Salty Popcorn and Spooning Australia. He is a movie, food, restaurant, wine, chocolate, bacon, burger and brussels sprouts addict. He is a member of the Australian Film Critics Association and has been in the Australian movie industry for 26yrs. Furthermore he loves watching people trip over and is Leonardo DiCaprio’s biggest fan.
** Images used are courtesy of various sources on Google or direct from the distributor or publisher Credit has been given to photographers where known – images will be removed on request.