At first look, Blue Ruin director Jeremy Saulnier’s new film Green Room has all the narrative ingredients needed to create a modern cult classic.
A struggling strapped for cash punk band by the name of ‘Ain’t Rights’ is forced to take a gig at a neo-Nazi commune/punk barn run by Darcy, a chilling Nazi patriarch played by the legendary Patrick Stewart. As a joke, the band decides to goad their audience by kicking off their set with a cover of the classic Dead Kennedy’s song “Nazi Punks F*** Off”, a joke that is both ill conceived and ill received.
This sets off a thrilling chain of events that send our angsty punk friends down into the deepest darkest trenches of hell (the backwoods of Oregon).
First and foremost, it should be noted that Green Room is not for the faint of heart. The film has its fair share of graphic scenes, and Saulnier is not the kind of director to cut a tough moment short just to make his audience a little more comfortable. It’s almost as if he gets some sort of sadistic delight from making his audience squirm. Saulnier also makes a very deliberate attempt to steer away from conventional movie archetypes and cliches, and instead carves out a path and a voice that is uniquely his own.
The true challenge that Green Room faced, was taking an actor like Patrick Stewart, a man whose past roles have served as moral compasses for generations of film and TV viewers, and turn him utterly villainous. Saulnier proves more than up to the task and, together with Stewart, creates a terrifying monster.
Stewart, a man now in his mid 70s, has never been very physically threatening, but there is something about the way he carries himself in this film that is incredibly intimidating.
Green Room is not the kind of movie you will want to watch before going to sleep, though it might be more haunting than any nightmares that the night can conjure up. Jeremy Saulnier is slowly becoming a fresh and powerful voice in the modern film industry, and if that isn’t enough to sell you on this film, just think of the fact that you get to see two actors of Star Trek past (Patrick Stewart) and present (Anton Yelchin) square off against each other.