Sunday, July 16, 2017

Delayed Reaction: Green Room

The Pitch: A punk band fights Neo-Nazis who want to kill them.

It's hard to be more glib about the pitch for the movie than what the movie is actually about. It's an extreme premise and counters that by being much more restrained than I expected. When I heard that it's a movie about Anton Yelchin and his punk band witnessing a murder and being chased by Neo-nazis, led by Patrick Stewart, who are trying to cover up the murder, I rightfully had visions of one of those uber-violent slashers that exist only to outdo the craziness of the last kill*. That's not what Green Room is. It's certainly violent. Limbs are cut off, heads explode from gunshot wounds, and dogs maul people. None of it is out of place for the situation though. It's a survival movie and a large amount of it is a stand-off, with the band trapped the the green room, trying to figure out what to do next. I really appreciate the sense of limited resources in the film. There wasn't an endless supply of guns and weapons. There's only a handful of neo-Nazi** henchmen. Patrick Stewart's character doesn't want the scene to look like a shootout in case the cops come snooping around, so he doesn't go after the band with a machine gun or something crazy. It's not wholly implausible that the band could get out of this situation alive.

*I don't watch a lost of these movies, so I don't have any examples at the top of my head. The Final, maybe.

**I don't know what I'm supposed to capitalize if anything in "neo-nazi" and I have no desire to look it up.

This is a really solid cast giving a solid effort. The fact that Anton Yelchin brought as much nuance to his character as he did reminds me how tragic it is that he's gone now. Patrick Stewart takes his role very seriously when he could've easily hammed it up. I've seen Imogen Poots in a few things (That Awkward Moment, Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping, Need For Speed) but they haven't been great showcases for her. She gets some good stuff in this. The film definitely suffers from the "death hierarchy" (i.e. You can predict the order of the deaths based on how familiar much you recognize each actor), but that doesn't spoil the tension too much.

I was prepared to dislike Green Room a lot. Instead, it was pretty good. Well paced. A little more gruesome than I'd prefer. Excellent closing 2 lines. I think it would appeal to more than just fans of violent movies.

Verdict (?): Weakly Recommend

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