Green Room focuses on an indie punk-rock band that is struggling to make ends meet. After taking an odd gig to try to scrape by, they quickly realize that the venue is run by Neo-Nazis. After the gang witnesses a terrible act of violence, and are locked in the venue’s green room, they quickly realize that they are the next ones to be killed. The rest of the film is a game of cat and mouse as the band attempts to escape, with plenty of twists and turns along the way.
The performances in the film are all solid. Patrick Stewart portrays the main antagonist, the Neo-Nazi owner of this venue. He’s despicable, and you’ll love to hate him. The other stand out performance in the film comes from Anton Yelchin. Yelchin gives a convincing, desperate, and hard to watch performance as the protagonist, in one of his last roles before his tragic death. Yelchin portrays his character’s descent from an easygoing punk-rocker to a brutal survivalist well; we understand his pain and sorrow, and also his determination.
Perhaps the most impressive and interesting aspect of Green Room is its use of tone and pacing through cinematic language. The beginning of the film feels gentle, lighthearted and simple; a day in the life of a struggling indie band. This is reflected in the cinematography and pacing of the first scenes: sun shining through windows, band members sleeping soundly in their van, soft lighting on their faces as the camera’s focus fades in and out. Music is minimal and soft in the background. The film is taking its time. But as the plot progresses and the stakes are raised, the lighting takes on a sickening green, and the music becomes loud punk rock, sometimes so loud it muffles dialogue. We descend into madness with the band, from a happy and simple place into a gruesome, horrifying and stressful nightmare.
Green Room is a high energy and fun action film, though it can sometimes be very gruesome. Though it can be difficult to watch, the film keeps the audience engaged with its masterful use of tone and pacing, always keeping us on the edge of our seats. While it doesn’t ask much of its audience in terms of interpretation or subtext, Green Room is full of solid performances and a gripping plot.