Entertainment Value: 9/10 Critical Value: 7.5/10
It’s been a while since I have done a film review, but I recently watched Green Room and decided I should do another. I’ll likely be doing one for Rogue One as well, which I should be seeing today. Green Room came up on my Netflix recommendations and I remembered hearing about it through Patrick Stewart’s social media. As I checked the cast list I also realized Anton Yelchin was one of the leads. His death earlier this year was an unfortunate and early end to a great career. He was one of the only good things in Terminator: Salvation and I also enjoyed him as Chekov in the new Star Trek films. Green Room is actually his last feature film to be released while he was still alive. In a way, watching it was my own tribute to him.
The film follows a punk band who perform at a remote skinhead bar. After witnessing a murder, they end up trapped, surrounded by skinheads who want to eliminate the witnesses. The film has received rave reviews and although I didn’t like it as much as many people did, I definitely enjoyed it. The plot isn’t anything special, the quality of the movie lies in its cast and the execution of the thrills. Yelchin and his band members, The Ain’t Rights, aren’t introduced as sympathetic characters. We see them siphoning gas from cars within the first ten minutes but the movie quickly manages to make you root for them. Another one of the main characters is a Neo-Nazi and I was actually rooting for her as well.
The other actors all blend into their roles as well, especially Alia Shawkat and Joe Cole. We don’t get much character development for any of the characters but I was still attached to them, hoping that they all made it out alive.
Patrick Stewart, plays Darcy, the owner of the skinhead bar and the leader of their organization. This film marks the first time that I have heard Patrick Stewart do an american accent. I have to say that it was dodgy at times. Perhaps I am just used to his english accent and that leads me to pick his performance apart more. I just felt his native accent struggling to break through with just about every sentence. His performance was’t bad but a poor accent can often hamper an otherwise great performance.
Yelchin, playing Pat, outshines Patrick Stewart here. He is the heart of the film and one scene in particular would have been weaker if it wasn’t for his performance.
Minor spoiler: At one point, Pat is injured. We hear him scream in pain but we don’t see what his injury is right away. The way the scene was shot, along with Yelchin’s performance. I have seen gorier films, but the visceral violence of this one and its masterful execution made it stand out as one my favourites in recent memory. As I look back on the film, I realize that its true strength and memorability lies in these moments of brutality. I have returned to the film again and again simply to watch these scenes. In some ways, Green Room almost reminded me of a Tarantino film, slow build up that leads to moments of great violence. The script and the direction does a great job continuously building tension, until the film’s end, which I felt was slightly too abrupt.
The film has very strong moments, but I felt like these moments weren’t consistent enough to make it a great film. With that said, Yelchin is a stand out and I believe that the film is worth watching so that you can see the talent the world was robbed of too early.