Review: Green Room [2016]

a review by the Crow.

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OPENING THOUGHTS

I watched Green Room on a whim. nu-Chekov (Anton Yelchin; RIP) and Picard (Patrick Stewart)? Together? In a movie? With Sir Patrick Stewart playing the bad guy?! Sign me up.

But don’t expect me to be excited.

See? I don’t hold out much hope for movies starring Sir Patrick Stewart unless they start with the letter “X” (and even that’s no guarantee). Neither do I have any expectations when it comes to Anton Yelchin, but that’s mostly because I haven’t watched too many movies with him in it.


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PLOT

WARNING: THIS SECTION CONTAINS SOME [MINOR] SPOILERS

We follow a band as they travel across the United States. Times are hard – it becomes clear, as they siphon gas and otherwise scrounge their way between gigs.

Following a few disappointing nights, they come into some luck. There’s a gig at a clubhouse in the woods, and it’ll pay them better. They quickly come to the realisation that they’ll be playing for a crowd of skinheads, and decide to finish their set and move on. At the end of their performance, the only female member of the band remembers that she’d left her phone to charge in the green room. The band’s guitarist (Yelchin) decides to head back and get it, only to stumble upon a murder scene in said room.

One thing leads to another, and the band find themselves trapped in the green room, along with the murdered girl’s friend Amber (Imogen Poots; who becomes a strong ally) and a bouncer, who holds them at gunpoint. The band manage to claim the weapon, and the bouncer becomes a sort-of a hostage during their negotiations through the door.

The police are turned away as the band wait, and the whole situation goes South from there. Limbs are hacked, throats are ripped out, skulls are riddled with bullets, and men are disembowelled.

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And through it all, I’m wondering: “this is the United States. Surely, there’s another few guns in this movie, somewhere.” But no. Good on the movie for exchanging guns for machetes and dogs. While I know quite a few (and their mums) very well might be packing over the pond, it’s nice to see a movie where the lack of firearms and ammunition is a concern.

The movie is an unapologetic, unremorseful action-thriller with touches of horror. There aren’t all that many jump-scares (if there are any at all), and the movie pushes a sense of dread right up until our survivors manage to exit the building (after multiple attempts). The titular “green room” of the movie is where most of the action lies, but it ends outdoors, in the woods.

It’s possible some might consider the ending a bit of a letdown, but there’s not much else the movie could have done. There’s – ultimately – not much to work with. The movie is simple, brutal, and doesn’t waste time on things that aren’t going to move the action forward. The heroin angle? It’s a reason. It’s a thing. Should we linger on it? No. Let’s get to the next kill.

It does what it needs to. And that’s just fine by this crow.


Anton Yelchin and the complete cast

EXECUTION

Green Room is a gritty, messy affair. The performances are well pulled-off and the overall production quality is pretty much what one would expect from a movie of this type.

There’s not much to say about things like the cinematography or sound design, because the movie has little happening outside the ordinary in either department. The movie does, however, use darkness well. The scenes in the empty clubhouse before the dogs appear are executed very nicely.

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The character of Amber is a huge relief. She goes from a zoned-out witness to the best fighter on the team over the course of the movie. If The Corvid Review is ever under siege by neo-Nazi bastards, it’d be nice to have an Amber on the team.

Sir Patrick Stewart’s Darcy, on the other hand, is a victim of his actor’s stature. This is Sir Patrick Stewart, playing a bad guy. Stop the presses and roll your ravioli, this is going to be good! Aaand… well, Sir Patrick Stewart plays Sir Patrick Stewart. A little bit menacing, perhaps, and doing evil, but it’s the same guy. I don’t see him as anything special.

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And of course, he doesn’t have much to work with. Darcy’s appearances are minimal. His final showing is pretty abrupt and leaves the viewer with a sense of “oh…”, it’d probably be best to not know that Patrick Stewart’s in the movie. The hype is harmful.


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CLOSING THOUGHTS

Green Room is a decent movie. It has it’s highs, and not many lows, but it never manages to be special. Does it come recommended by The Corvid Review? Well… yes. If you’re not the squeamish type, certainly give it a shot.

It has a simple premise, and follows through with it until few are left standing. It’s difficult not to rate this as high as I make it sound, but unfortunately, we yearn for movies which are spectacular, and Green Room fails to be so. Unlike Hush, which shines in its field, this movie doesn’t really manage to. It has the blood, the tension, the waiting, and even comes low on the jump scares; but it doesn’t manage to balance them as well.

Decent movie, all that said.

Rating: 4.5/10

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