Wednesday, April 27, 2016
GREEN ROOM (2016)
Written & Directed By: Jeremy Saulnier
Cinematography By: Sean Porter
Editor: Julia Bloch
Cast: Anton Yelchin, Patrick Stewart, Alia Shawkat, Macon Blair, Imogen Poots, Mark Webber, Joe Cole, Callum Turner, Eric Edelstein, Kai Lennox *Please note that some trivia and facts have been republished from imdb among other sources In this review
A band straying into a secluded part of Virginia stumbles onto a horrific act of violence. Because they are the only witnesses, they become the targets of a terrifying gang of white power skinheads who want to make sure all the evidence is eliminated.
This is obviously not a sentimental film.
What powers the film is it's ingenuity. As the film plays you are never on quite stable footing, as you never know what is going to happen next. Which is the most powerful aspect in the film in the storytelling. It might remind you of other films, but there is nothing quite like it. The violence seems to lend itself more as one of it's unmistakable qualities that set's it apart. As the film can be generalized by some. Though it is it's own powerhouse. A film that is only intensified I a theater. As it is vivid but it’s constant it seems unending tension that reminds one of he film 13 TZAMETI. Is barely eased ever. It's constantly unrelenting. The few times it might be is when there is some humor thrown in. Natural humor not strong as there is never really a release even by the end you are still on edge. Though helps wash it down a little easier and without so much burning in your guys. Watching it in a theater an open space with others. You still feel scared to a degree as you feel you could be put into the Same situation. As it is a foreign place. At least at home you know the lay of the land and security protocols.
Some would Label the film a revenge tale, when it is a bleak survival story. The film is so Intricately built. Half the fascination is watching how it works and the construction of it. As the film goes on it constantly surprises as it builds and builds with details most films don’t usually recognize.
The film offers plenty of come out of nowhere moments that make sense for the story and characters, but you in the audience probably won't see coming. The film seems so complex, but leaves plenty to talk about.
Now one must talk about the violence. It is graphic more the expected. Which didn't surprise me as much as it did the audience around me. Which I thought was brilliant. (One guy even walked out it seemed because of it)
It get's the audience revved up to a degree when the violence begins and the protagonists fight back against heir perpetrators, but it also reminds us that we are not watching a studio action film where someone is hot and stabbed and dispatched of, no here we see the blood and guts and the full measure of gore that can happen with such wounds. That silences us and shocks us back to a degree where we realize there are real stakes. It's a movie but we are not necessarily in a more cinematic world. This makes us realize this is a more realistic universe and up's the stakes as to this could really happen to any of us. As the film goes on it also makes is realize that while we are happy when the protagonists are successful to a degree. When striking back. That these are all human beings good or bad and not necessarily something to take any kind of joy in. The director wants you to be repulsed by the violence. As it's not so much heroic or a learning experience. It is more tragic, yet necessary.
It's not exactly a revenge film where you celebrate as the hero kills those who did them wrong, nor is it a slasher film where half the entertainment is the killings. Where we are supposed to get excited about the murders by the killer. In fact those films ramp it up for that to be the audiences release of tension. Action films are guilty of it also, though they try to include pyrotechnics, effects and more stunts. You can tell it's going to be bad when the film seems to suspend any gun use and the villainous crew are instructed to use only blades.
This film could be timeless. Except for a few modern amenities. This feels like a film Of a lost era. It could be that while it could easily be seen to some as some kind of violent explorations film. Punk rockers vs. skinheads. Which could easily be the films longline. At heart it is a siege thriller, and it follows the code of it's characters by not having any rules or playbook. Anything can happen. Everyone is expendable. Pure punk.
It’s not just violence for violence sake. It means something. Something that is only used as it has to. Not to entertain. Which sets it apart from what it might seem as some kind of exploitation film. It’s not here to revel and glamorize with what it shows. It just presents it in all of it’s ugliness.
The stance of the machete wielder in the poster references The Clash's "London Calling" album cover with bassist Paul Simonon smashing a guitar. -
irector Jeremy Saulnier wanted to make this film partly because as his career advanced, he knew he would not be offered the chance to make a film as ultra-violent and bleak as "Green Room" and that no novice filmmaker would be given the chance to direct it either. He felt that after the success of "Blue Ruin" the time was right to take on a film as demanding as "Green Room." The characters aren’t the typical type you would find in a movie like this. They aren’t merceneries, ex-military or even violent. They are just a band.
The film is sharply composed in it's shots and sharp in it's editing as it always has a free flow, but a sense of gloom hangs over every scene even the early ones. Which is why the film is short but feels epic in it's own good sense. As there doesn't feel like an ounce of fat or anything Is needed is included in the film.
We are never informed of the characters history. We only get to know them in a short Amount of time. Even before we are quite sure we really like them. They seem ok and fun even if quick tempered and nihilistic. As they don't seem to have any prospects, but keep going. Even if they themselves seem downtrodden and don't believe in the silver lining. Though almost equal fitting as the villains. As we slowly get to know each and how they think and work. The characters are smart but obviously in over their heads and not making the best decisions as they are in panic mode, though luckily we don't have the cliche maniac who wants to give up and will do anything to survive and take the villains at their word. Even if they include the cliche idea of splitting up. Which usually in horror movies films the characters.
As the film presents the characters in roles where you think one will be the survivor only to have them be cut short. The natural born leader isn't necessarily the survive. Though he might be he bravest. Now we are not sure who to look to, to be out hero or main star. Like the movie CUBE. Who you might be in life might change in extreme situations.
Though I love her performances. One gets tired of seeing Alia Shawkat play the likeable, innocent victim. Maybe it's because her career seemed to start as the on the know smart one. But here and in FINAL GIRLS. She seems to always be the one who feels out and can't take it. Usually dooming her own fate. I just wish she would finally get a role more then The best friend. Where her character has a strength and power and is more demanding or powerful maybe even conniving again. So that she just isn't another victim.
Imogen Poots once again makes an impact in her role. As her character is more caught up in the situation. Sure she is in the movement and even gives a few reasons why, but it's not necessarily important as survival isn't based on political beliefs. Here she is the enemy at first but has to convince them she is with them and for them to trust her and as the film goes along one of their star feet allies as well as being maybe the most vicious.
It is geeky to see Anton Yelchin who plays Chekov in the current STAR TREK movies interact with Patrick Stewart who played Captain Jean-Luc Picard on STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION
This is one of the first roles where I have really been impressed by Anton Yelchin's performance. I have liked some of them in the past ODD THOMAS, ALPHA DOG, LIKE CRAZY. Here he is very memorable and you more then sympathize with him.
Patrick Stewart is aces as always as a more memorable and meaningful villains then in some of his roles from the past. He does so much with so little. We have seen him play villains here and there, but it is rare he played one in a good film. What is especially chilling is that he never loses his cool. No matter what he stays rational and calm even when threatening and giving ghastly orders. So that it comes off as rather normal for him. He truly doesn't see what the is doing as wrong but more just handling a problem, Clear headed and as tidy as he can. Cleaning up all the details and thinking on his feet, but never overacting or losing his cool.
No one gets out of this film unscathed. Though I was kind of hoping it would as that would be the most punk rock cinema ever. Though might prove I satisfying to most audiences. It would have a strong message of these things happen and the bad guys get away with things that is life sometimes. Just as another radical idea might have been to onto have in the soundtrack punk rock groups whose members are mostly minorities. Would have given the the film an ironic subversive edge.
The shock of the audience in their reactions, Which tells me that while people heard of the film or read up on it. They obviously skipped certain information provided.