SXSW Film 2016 Review: GREEN ROOM

By Liz Lopez

Rating: A

Writer-director Jeremy Saulnier’s third feature Green Room debuted at The Directors’ Fortnight at Cannes (2015) and subsequently, many of us who attended the 2015 Fantastic Fest here in Austin were also able to view this crime, horror thriller starring Patrick Stewart in any character you have seen in the recent past. If you were not in town last September to catch one of those screenings, you now have an opportunity to view it with Green Room’s theatrical release in the United States now. I dislike stating too much about a film before others get to view it, but if I was a musician, this might give me pause about driving from city to city without enough funds to make it back home and accepting a gig in the back woods in order to survive.

The fictitious punk collective band, the Ain’t Rights, and their best friend, Amber (Imogen Poots) are traveling in rural Oregon and with their bad luck, the van breaks down. Unfortunately, the find an option to perform a gig, but it is one run by white supremacist thugs. Darcy (Patrick Stewart) is a merciless gang leader who is not so hip with this show, nor the band, comprised of singer Tiger (Callum Turner), bassist Pat (Anton Yelchin), guitarist Sam (Alia Shawkat) and drummer Reece (Joe Cole).

Things go really wrong when the band decides to go against the flow and perform the Dead Kennedys’ Nazi Punks F–k Off. Needless to say, the band did not succeed with their intentions to beat it out of there. It is worse when a young female club patron is murdered.

Barricaded in the green room backstage, their plan A and B to escape is quickly shifting through several iterations. You have to view this film to see what it takes for any to survive this mess.

Additional cast members include Mark Webber, Eric Edelstein, Macon Blair and Kai Lennox, among others.

The music is by Brooke Blair and Will Blair, along with music supervisor, Lauren Marie Mikus.

Blue Ruin is Saulnier’s sophomore film (2013) which was also a hit and I certainly look forward to seeing what this writer and director is preparing for us now.

The 94 minute film is rated R for strong brutal graphic violence, gory images, language and some drug content. It is opening in Austin at Regal Arbor 8 @ Great Hills and the Alamo Drafthouse South Lamar April 22nd and will expand to more Drafthouse theaters next week.

Source: Broad Green Pictures, A24

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