A young punk rock band is riding the road in search of gigs in order to survive. Barely scraping bay, siphoning gas to stay on the road, and with a couple cartons of Mexican take out for sustenance, the group take on a gig at a skinhead Neo-Nazi bar for $350. After the gig is over, they stumble upon a crime scene in the bar and things go downhill quick for all involved. This review contains very light spoilers. To say Green Room is intense is an understatement. The closest thing I can compare it to is the original Texas Chain Saw Massacre — though Green Room isn’t nearly as morbid as that. But the tension increases throughout the film in a realistic manner. It’s a film that the audience would ask themselves “What would I do in this situation”? In college critical thinking courses they have a group project where the students are given a scenario where they are on a deserted island with a certain number of items (i.e. water, parachute, etc) and asked how they would survive using it. I think they should change the curriculum to ask how they’d survive a situation like the one in Green Room.
Trapped in a room in the back of a bar with a Neo-Nazi hostage, a gun with five bullets, a dead body, no cell phone, and with more Neo-Nazi’s ready to kill them, the band must make some hard decisions that have dire consequences. The skinhead group is headed up by Darcy (Patrick Stewart) who is trying his best to clean up this mess in the most efficient manner possible and avoid any police presence. The two groups face off in a deadly and brutal game of survival. Mercenaries and dog squads are brought in and the odds are increasingly stacked against our hapless heroes who are holed up in the Green Room.
I love how writer/director Jeremy Saulnier (Murder Party, Blue Ruin) just drops us in this world with these characters without feeling the need to be sentimental. It tells us just what we need about the characters at this point in time and lets the story play out; compare this to something like Hostel or Green Inferno (films I both like) that spend roughly half their run time getting to know these characters. None of that here; twenty minutes in the film and you’re stuck in the room with band battling for life. All we need to know is the heroes play rock music and want to live; the bad guys don’t want to go to jail. This is enough.
The only complaint that I really have with Green Room is the way it develops into more of a revenge-thriller towards the end. I would have rather it kept the tension all the way through; but I understand what Saulnier was going for. I enjoyed this film and can’t recommend it enough. I can’t wait to go back to the Green Room!