“The effects were great, the performances were great, the atmosphere was great, but something about the story left me less than thrilled.”
Yesterday I watched Green Room and despite liking it, there were some things that didn’t really sit right with me. Green Room is a film that follows an amateur punk-rock band who travel around trying to find shows to play. Following the word of a new acquaintance, the group go out of their way to a very secluded club that is run by what look to be Nazis, or at the very least people who love Nazi memorabilia. The band then find themselves at the mercy of this unfortunate group of people, and they have to battle their way out of this hellish punk-rock hotspot.
There is really no reason to dance around this, so let’s just get it out of the way: This review will feature spoilers for Green Room. If you have not seen Green Room and don’t want to film to be spoiled for you, do not read any further.
So what did I like about Green Room? Most of it, really. I thought that the movie itself was a very effective horror film. From the start, to the finish, and everywhere in between I was on the edge of my seat. This was accomplished in many different ways that combined to make an experience so intense that it at times made me sick to my stomach. First of all, the effects in the film were stellar. The violence in Green Room is so realistically gruesome, and the effects do such a great job to send that home. Be it a hand hanging off of an arm, a stomach being cut open with a box-cutter, or a face getting blown off by a shotgun, Green Room delivers amazing effects that not only immerse you in the film but scare the shit out of you. I also thought that the performances in the film were amazing. In Green Room you pretty much have two sets of people: The heroes, and the villains. The heroes aren’t exactly great people, but you root for them because the villains are just so fucking vile. Heading up the villain side you have Sir Patrick Stewart who knocks it out of the park as the punk-rock club’s owner, Darcy. As Darcy, Patrick Stewart delivers a performance that is both menacing and intriguing. Darcy handles situations as though he has run the scenarios in his head a thousand times, which makes you wonder if he deals with shit like this on a daily basis or if he is just so twisted that he does in fact run through scenarios like this almost constantly. Alongside Patrick Stewart’s Darcy you also have a band of merry Neo-Nazis. These men all give great performances as heartless, soulless, killing machines who will stab each other and laugh about it afterwards. Heading up the hero side of things we have Anton Yelchin and Imogen Poots who both do great jobs at playing the “victims”. I put victims in quotes because Green Room does something that I respect, and that is the fact that it makes its characters competent. Sure Pat and Amber (Anton Yelchin and Imogen Poots respectively) are in a shitty situation, but that doesn’t mean that they can’t fight back. Green Room empowers these characters to do what most of us couldn’t in that situation, which ultimately provides us with better experience because we get some vindication out of this film.
So what didn’t I like about Green Room? Well, a lot of what I’m going to say isn’t going to be criticism but more like me talking through things with myself. The only problems I had with Green Room revolved around the films story, but it’s not that the movie made no sense it’s more like I was just too confused for too long so the experience is not a great one in my head. Anyway, let’s dive in so you can figure out what I mean. First of all, why was Darcy okay with one band leaving after seeing a dead chick, but not the other band? Was it because he assumed that they would be killed by the heroin he gives them? If so, that’s pretty ballsy. Was it because the one band was from out of town, and he didn’t know them? I guess that would make sense, but the film never points that out. Also, why the fuck did that dude kill the girl in the dressing room, and what was the point of the note? The note was given to Emily, and Anton Yelchin sees this. Later we find out that the note was a cue, but for what? For Emily and Daniel to leave? Why would they leave in the middle of a song? Why couldn’t he just walk up to her and say “hey, let’s leave”? It just seems needlessly complicated. Also, what’s the point of the red laces? Are the people who wear red laces affiliated with the heroin operation, or do so many people accidentally find out about the heroin operation/ see some girl get killed that Darcy needed to hire a group of dudes specifically to kill motherfuckers? Why did Darcy not want to shoot the band members either? He specifically says “no guns” because he wants it to look like they were attacked by dogs (I guess), but then he says that the dudes can use blades. What the fuck? Does he think that police can’t tell the difference between blades and dogs? Was he planning on using the red lace guys again if the police start asking too many questions? And then later in the movie we hear gunshots anyway. Did they decide to shoot the bodies after they were already dead? Were they doing target practice? Did one of the band members get up as a zombie and they had to fucking double-tap them? So much shit in this movie just kind of happens, and leaves you to figure it out later. I like this process in theory, but the execution got kind of muddled at times. And even though a lot of the questions I asked have already been answered in my head, the fact that I had to ask them in the first place means that I didn’t really get the movie.
Overall Green Room, while offering a very intense experience, just didn’t have a story that did it for me. The effects were great, the performances were great, the atmosphere was great, but something about the story left me less than thrilled. Maybe it was because it is a little convoluted, maybe it was because I didn’t understand some parts; whatever it was, it left me underwhelmed.
I give Green Room a B