Classic Review: Green Room (2016)

Since I’ve started this site, I’ve written a lot of reviews. In case you missed some of my earlier ones, I would like to share an older review of “Green Room” which originally appeared here.

A down-on-their-luck punk band (Anton Yelchin, Joe Cole, Alia Shawkat, and Callum Turner) accept an offer to play a rural Oregon club before calling their failing tour quits. When they arrive at the venue, they’re troubled by the large neo-Nazi presence, but go through with their set regardless. They retreat to the backstage room afterward, only to be greeted by the corpse of a young woman on the floor and the neo-Nazis standing above her. Fearful that the band will contact the authorities, the gang hold them hostage as their leader named Darcy (Patrick Stewart) tries to think of a solution to this sticky situation. Soon, the bandmates are fighting for their lives as they attempt to escape the club.

I personally didn’t really need much convincing on this one. The concept interested me and more importantly, Patrick Stewart is a bad guy, a position which I have not yet seen in any film. So the plot here isn’t overly complicated as a struggling punk band decide to play one last show in a rural club. Little do they know, this club is for neo-Nazis. Despite that, they go on but things do not exactly go according to plan. After being held hostage by neo-Nazis and their leader Darcy (Stewart),  the band must fight for their lives in order to escape.

The film tries to establish the relationship between the band members early on as they dealt with their own struggles. They were very obvious here. The desperation was there and throughout this, they were very together. All of the members Pat (Yelchin), Reece (Cole), Sam (Shawkat), and Tiger (Turner) had great chemistry. I found that they were okay characters but I didn’t particularly care for any of them. I just didn’t think they were very developed characters since we never really got the chance to learn anything about them as they were thrust rather quickly towards the club in which the majority of the film took place.

The plot really started once the band got to the club, but really shortly after they arrived. This brings me to the biggest problem I had with the film, for the majority of the time, I had no idea what was going on. Because I didn’t understand what was happening, the events occurring on screen had little impact with me. I could however appreciate the sense of suspense and tension the film tried to create. This was done with the use of great cinematography and music which both do a great job at getting you in the mood but these did not matter as much to me because of my problems with the story.

Why this had little impact with me is that the villains here, the neo-Nazis except for Stewart’s Darcy, were not very interesting to me. I did not find them to be very developed either. Their reasoning and their endgame was not clear to me so I didn’t really see the sense of urgency within the band to escape. I never really got the sense that the band was ever in danger.

I found the pace of the film to be very slow for approximately the first 2/3 of the film and got a little better during the last 1/3. The first 2/3 consisted of the band being trapped in a room while the neo-Nazis were trying to figure out what to do with them. The general sense of tension was basically the band not knowing what was going on or what was going to happen, all while being trapped in a room. I got that but not much really happened for me and I found that this slowed things down too much for me. Once things got clearer, the film got more exciting for me but I didn’t like the leap it took to get there.

I don’t think I would be giving anything away by saying that the band escapes the room. Once they did, it was fun to watch them taken on the neo-Nazis. I will say that the film contains a lot of brutal violence during these moments but the camera does not focus on it for more than a few seconds so it wasn’t too bad. Problems aside, I really did enjoy Stewart’s Darcy. He was definitely evil here and just a very menacing and intimidating character. While his motives may not have always been clear, I found him to be very compelling to watch. I thought the rest of the acting was great as well.

Overall, this film had great performances and definitely excelled at creating tension and suspense but came off a little hollow because of the underdeveloped story.

Score: 8/10

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