You won’t look at Patrick Stewart the same after seeing him in Jeremy Saulnier’s “Green Room,” which expands to more theaters on April 29. All those years of playing Jean-Luc Picard in “Star Trek: The Next Generation” and Professor X in the “X-Men” films have brandished an image of the 75-year-old actor as being someone with authority, but also someone who is likable. That’s not the case here. In fact, it’s far from anything he’s ever done.
Sure, Stewart does take on another leader-type role, but it’s for a group of Neo-nazis in Oregon. Yes, you read that right. And he excels in the role. He’s a brutal, unforgiving character that doesn’t let things get in his way. Not even a bunch of punk rockers that witness something they weren’t supposed to.
A punk rock band known as The Ain’t Rights are struggling to get by – as is the case for most in their profession. There’s singer Tiger (Callum Turner); guitarist Sam (Alia Shawkat) bassist Pat (Anton Yelchin); and drummer Reece (Joe Cole). Their latest gig fell through, and having to settle for some low-attended event at a local Mexican restaurant puts them in a position to determine if playing in front of a live audience and getting little from it is worth it anymore.
They are then promised some serious dough at a place in Oregon. The only downside to this venue is that it’s mostly a place for white supremacists.
The band doesn’t care. They make their way to Oregon – siphoning gas along the way, and just doing what they can to make it there and to survive. They perform the show, get their money, and then get ready to go. Unfortunately, after one of the members left behind a cell phone, the band witnesses a murder they weren’t supposed to see. Now, they and the victim’s friend, Amber (Imogen Poots), are trapped in this little room with nowhere to go, and this could be the last place they ever see.
Saulnier is not afraid of holding back with “Green Room.” This being his third feature film, he proves himself to be a strong talent in the world of indie thrillers. As soon as the murder is discovered, he creates this tension that slowly builds on the viewer and becomes more nerve-wracking with each passing minute. Then he turns the film into a frenetic bloodbath.
The kills and bodily injuries in “Green Room” are unsettling, but they don’t go so over the top to the point in which the viewer is taken out of the film. It does enter B-movie territory with its wickedly dark humor and gruesome kills and maims. Saulnier could have easily turned “Green Room” into another dumb horror film with dumb protagonists. He doesn’t.
The punk rockers of The Ain’t Rights, as well as Amber, are a lot smarter than they seem. They come up with creative ways to fight back against the skinheads, and it’s a blast to watch them escape the clutches of this menacing group. For as nightmarish as “Green Room” is, it’s one you’ll want to revisit the minute it ends.