DVD/Blu-Ray Review: Jeremy Saulnier's "GREEN ROOM"

With the release of GREEN ROOM on DVD & Blu-ray on July 12, I thought it only appropriate to revisit my thoughts from when I first saw the film.  GREEN ROOM is Jeremy Saulnier’s follow up to his critically acclaimed film BLUE RUIN. GREEN ROOM features an amazing cast which includes Patrick Stewart, Anton Yelchin, Alia Shawkat, Imogen Poots, Joe Cole, Mark Webber, Callum Turner, and Macon Blair.  The story follows four friends (Yelchin, Shawkat, Cole, and Turner) who are on the road after having an unsuccessful tour with their punk rock band, the Ain’t Rights.  Before deciding to call it quits and heading home, they get an offer to play one last gig –in the backwoods of Oregon for an audience of skin heads.  They are assured by a mutual friend of the skin heads that the group is “hospitable enough” and the band begrudgingly agrees as they know they need the extra cash.  Things end up going from awkward to really really bad upon their arrival at the venue. Due to a series of unfortunate events, they become witnesses to a murder which brings them face to face with Neo-Nazi Darcy Banker (Patrick Stewart).  With no-where to go other than the green room, and surrounded by skin-head Nazi’s on the outside, the band must do all they can to fight their way out and survive.

If you couldn’t tell by the synopsis, this is a heavy and intense film. When it first started, I wasn’t really captivated by what was going on.  I’ll be honest, punk-rock is not my type of music, so hearing them perform was like nails on a chalkboard.  I kept thinking, if this is what the movie is going to be about, I’m never going to be able to immerse myself into what I am seeing and hearing.  Luckily, that aspect of the film only lasted about 20 minutes until shit got real.  And let me tell you, shit most certainly got real.  For the remainder of the film, I was on the edge of my seat.  I couldn’t look away and I was absolutely captivated, horrified, and entertained with what was happening on the screen.  So what makes GREEN ROOM one of the best films I’ve seen this year?  Well, just about everything.

First and foremost, the acting.  Everyone who was in this film was spot on, and I mean everyone.  Obviously, the stand out performance, at least for me, was Patrick Stewart.  I had never seen him as a bad guy before so to see him as this fearsome and terrifying Nazi was incredibly jarring.  However, he pulled it off and made his character believable.  Darcy was someone you did not mess with and he didn’t need to do much to assert his dominance or violent tendencies.  Another actor that really fascinated me was Macon Blair, who played Darcy’s right hand man, Gabe.  He’s the only character, within the skin-head group, that seemed to have any real regret and remorse, as well as eventually humility, for what he was doing and being a part of.  I felt like I was watching someone completely let go of everything they once believed in and it was intense to see that.  As for the band members, each one acted absolutely and completely believable. You truly believed that these characters were in danger and you wanted nothing more than to try and help them survive this horrifying experience.

I think one of the best aspects about director Jeremy Saulnier is his ability to make everything so god damn believable.  There are no supernatural entities or horrifying monsters, instead Saulnier digs deep into human nature and brings us terrifying acts that human beings can be capable of.  The story of GREEN ROOM is completely plausible as is his story in BLUE RUIN. These are events that could very well happen and that is a frightening notion.  I love a good horror movie that has to do with mythological monsters or the undead, but nothing quite sends a chill down my spine than knowing some humans are the real monsters and those are who we should be scared of the most.

In conclusion, GREEN ROOM is an absolutely chilling and tension driven movie.  If you like feeling on edge, watching Nazi’s being killed, buckets of gore, amazing dialogue, killer dogs, and solid acting, then this is the film for you.  A part of you will leave the theatre with a feeling of hopelessness while another part of you will feel vindicated.  Just know, there is some humanity left in this film, small as it might be, there is still some that you will take away. Overall, I think this was an absolutely solid film that punches you right in the gut, and isn’t that something we all need from time to time.  With that being said, I can now say I’m definitely a fan of Jeremy Saulnier’s films and I look forward to what he brings us in the future.

GREEN ROOM will be available on DVD & Blu-ray July 12 and will feature audio commentary with Director Jeremy Saulnier and "Into the Pit: Making GREEN ROOM" Featurette.