Green Room: A visceral experience which must be seen on big screen

Niall McCann


Niall McCann

Green Room: A visceral experience which must be seen on big screen

Summer is finally here and to paraphrase Morrissey what else is there to do on a dreaded sunny day but to go to the cinema?

Anyone who doesn't like getting their scalp burnt off or laying the foundation for future nasty sun related skin issues should get their arses down to the local multiplex, get a bucket of diabetes inducing coke and a no butter no fun popcorn, sit back, relax and enjoy the show.

I say enjoy the show but looking at the current fare available on our local screens I should say enjoy the shows because there is much to take it as the burgeoning summer raises its burnt head.

Jeremy Saulnier’s 2013 film Blue Ruin Jeremy was one of the best films of that year. Riveting and deeply disturbing it offered an extremely fresh take on the revenge thriller and brought to the world stage a talented director who understood tension and how to twist the knife on an audience like few other directors of recent memory.

His knew film Green Room manages the same feat while mixing genres and ideas like a crazy alchemist hell bent on discovering a new concoction with which to drug his audience.

This time we meet a punk band named Ain’t Rights - an unsuccessful hardcore band who depend on siphoning petrol in car parks as they venture from one low-paying gig to another.

With understandable reservations, the lefty youngsters sign up to play a rock club frequented by clientele their contact describes as “right-wing but maybe extremely left-wing”.

Much like David Icke or any angry and confused person you might unluckily end up sitting beside and suffering in a pub, there is a big difference between left and right wing, even when often right wingers think they might be just "extremely left".

Even worse the bad guys here are like that idiot we all know who picks taxis based on the colour of the driver but claims he is not a racist. Except they are that guy with balls. And guns.

Rather than being acolytes of Mr Chomsky the audience at the gig the band play are actually a bunch of ultra violent neo nazis who don't take to kindly to the punks rendition of The Dead Kennedys. Their decision to play a cover of Dead Kennedys’ Nazi Punks Fuck Off puts the viewer on edge; and we better get used to that feeling as this heart-thumping thriller only escalates from here.

The director realises what many other film makers before him have: if your bad guys are nazis then you can pour as much bloody and violent scorn onto them as you want and here Saulnier does not disappoint.

Green Room is monstrously and brutally violent, not least in an opening scene when our heroes butcher one of the right wing nut jobs that have them holed up in the titular Green Room, the trick here is that extreme violence is somewhat tempered when the victim is a complete racist degenerate.

There is almost fun to be had and like his previous work the director has his tongue places firmly in his cheek here no matter how much carnage we witness on screen.

The film calls to mind other siege films such as The Raid, Assault on Precinct 13 even the claustrophobia of David Fincher misstep the Panic Room and the recent Cloverfield Lane.

This is a taut tense situation our protagonists find themselves in and we are right in there with them, even beat is like a heart on its last legs.

This is a visceral experience that must be seen on the big screen.

The young cast (apart from Patrick Stewart who is young compared to the earth but not his co stars) all turn in solid performances but it's the casting of Imogen Poots which stands out as the treasure of the film, she plays nervous rock fan who joins the punks in their battle and holds up surprisingly well.

Cinematographer Seán Porter finds interesting things to do with the confined spaces on offer here and though this may seem like a simple genre excercise in the increasingly right wing world we live in. With the rise of idiots like Donald Trump with his racist rhetoric and a fascist bad hairdo, perhaps we should all take to the streets and fight the nazis.

Go see this film now and get out of the sun.

You'll just get burned.