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Green Room: One F*** of a Punch to The Gut & it Does Not Stop [Review]

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From A24 Films and Blue Ruin director Jeremy Saulnier comes Green Room. The thriller stars Anton Yelchin, Imogen Poots, Alia Shawkat, Macon Blair, Joe Cole, Callum Turner and Patrick Stewart. The film was released in theatres April 29th (wide).

Members (Anton Yelchin, Alia Shawkat) of a punk-rock band and a tough young woman (Imogen Poots) battle murderous white supremacists at a remote Oregon roadhouse.

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Director Jeremy Saulnier has quickly established himself as one of the most promising and visionary filmmakers today. With the gritty and powerful Blue Ruin and now the superior Green Room, Saulnier is killing it and I’m officially a fan for whatever he decides to do going forward. Green Room is a simple thriller with a simple premise but the execution is anything but… Strong performances from a stellar cast of actors and actresses, powerful direction and some shocking twists and turns make for jarring movie experience. People die and they die in very degrading and realistically quick fashion giving the film a dark tone unlike any of your other run-of-the-mill action thrillers. Everyone is vulnerable in Green Room, which means nobody is safe…

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Anton Yelchin is back too by the way – and he’s REALLY, really good. He’s either in movies that don’t get the release they deserve (aka Odd Thomas) or his screen time is getting limited (aka Star Trek). But in Green Room he’s front and center and that’s saying something considering there’s a great cast surrounding him. Patrick Stewart plays a white supremacist gang leader and he does a terrific job playing a role that I feel was deserving of an entire TV series to explore him even further. Green Room had so many moments that I wanted to dive into but because the film is so quickly paced, we’re left to fill in the blanks on this gang’s past. It works here because we get just enough to figure out how they operate. The “red laces” subplot? Brilliant – who knew that was a thing? This movie is far more layered than it needed to be but that’s also one of the reasons why it’s so intriguing.

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The movie starts with this indie punk band struggling to make it on the road, so they take a gig at a white power bar in the middle of nowhere. After their show, they discover a murder in the green room and because they’re now witnesses to a crime, the white supremacist thugs keep them there to try and sort out the band’s inevitable disposal. There’s an astounding moment when the man behind the kill walks up to Anton Yelchin’s character and asked him what the second to last song they played was and after answering, the thug says, “It’s hard man. I did her to that one,” – HOLY SHIT! That was one of the most frightening and powerful lines I’ve heard in a movie in years. Quentin Tarantino endorsed this movie before it’s wide release and I whole heartedly agree with the man.

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The violence is fast, frightening and never once over-glorified to make it look satisfying. Even when bad guys get theirs – it’s hard to cheer when their deaths looks so horrific. The Green Room team really did a tremendous job displaying the brutality in a way that felt honest and terrifying, much in the same way a movie like ‘A History of Violence’ did years ago. Forget that the villains are white supremacists, because the protagonists themselves are white, so it’s just a matter of circumstance that the two sides clash, forget that the premise is deceptively simple because Green Room packs one fuck of a punch to the gut and it does not stop. Badass soundtrack, wonderful performances and a jarring look at a punk band not only struggling for gig money, but trying to stay alive against seemingly impossible odds.

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