GREEN ROOM (2016) Blu-ray Review, a movie written and directed by Jeremy Saulnier, starring Anton Yelchin, Imogen Poots, Alia Shawkat and Patrick Stewart.
Release Date: April 29th, 2016.
“After witnessing a murder, a punk rock band is forced into a vicious fight for survival against a group of maniacal skinheads.”
Run Time: 93 min
Format: AC-3, DTS Surround Sound, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1
Language: English (DTS Surround Sound)
Subtitles: English, Spanish
Rating: Rated R
The visual presentation by this blu-ray on a proper television is flawless. The color palette suits the location of the Pacific Northwest beautifully, with a sense of muted sensory input, and nothing but nature, earth, and a grimy Skinhead club to gaze at. You can really feel the fresh air and nature of that first half, and really smell the stale beer and piss of the punk venue in the latter. You can sense the dust and cigarette buts and disgust coming off the screen, which makes the violence all the more alarming.
I have no complaints, here. I was unable to use a proper surround sound speaker set-up, but was fully immersed in this experience from front to back, using a simple Bravia television. The music is loud and anarchic and piercing, as it should be, and the mixing regarding dialogue v. sound effects was welcomingly pleasant.
Blu-ray Bonus Content
? Audio Commentary by writer/director Jeremy Saulnier – a highly recommended feature. I’ve listened to Saulnier’s recent interviews on various podcasts, and the guy is down to earth, informative, funny, and intelligent.
? Into The Pit: Making Green Room – this is basically your standard far-too-short EPK package. There’s a few glimpses of our actors and filmmakers telling us stories, and some B-Roll interspersed, but this is largely forgettable. It was good to see Anton Yelchin be genuinely excited.
I began paying attention to Jeremy Saulnier when Blue Ruin began playing festivals. I’d heard through the film-twitter grapevine that this was an upcoming young guy who knows tension, understands that violence is often random, confusing, and shocking, and that he has a fairly beautiful eye for cinematography, too. In my great shame, I have yet to see that film, but after watching Green Room I’m fairly confident I’ll be watching anything this guy does for the foreseeable future.
This is a film I’d like to very much keep bundled up, to protect its own unfolding, regarding plot and script-choices. There’s no Shyamalan twist here, but some stories (I’d argue, all of them), are best given the chance to tell their tales themselves. I went into this one fairly blind, knowing only that Imogen Poots, Alia Shawkat and Anton Yelchin are part of a punk group that plays at an ominous Skinhead venue in the middle of nowhere – and that Patrick Stewart commands the terrifying force of Neo-Nazis pitted against them. I also knew that this was not to be taken lightly – that this isn’t a fun coming-of-age movie, but rather a highly intense, very realistic depiction of what can happen in the vast expanse of the Pacific Northwest, when nobody is there to help, and you’re trapped in a green room, barricading yourself from trained murderers filled with fanaticism and hate. This is a movie where your young group of heroes is in serious, violent danger, and every passing second creates more fear and panic than the last. The worst part is that you like them so much.
I have to admit that it was depressingly sad to see Anton Yelchin be so emotionally intelligent and lovable, after what recently happened. Like most of us, I was sort of waiting for him to grow into his own, adult prime, where he’d be one of our greatest working actors. You can tell from his work that he always – no matter what the role – attained a true level of naturalism, where he made sure to find the emotional realism of his character and his role. I think back to Alpha Dog (2006), which I’ll probably not be able to rewatch again. Or Charlie Bartlett (2007) – fuck, even Fright Night (2011). No matter the quality of the film, he was always strong, and part of the immersive elements of that film. And on top of that – you really liked him. He was affable, funny, charming, a healthy young lad ready to fulfill all that potential. And then he died alone, at night, with nobody there to anchor his last breath to. And you think of how scared he must have been. And how shitty that all is.
I’m not sure how to behave after someone dies, to be honest. I’ve recently experienced a personal loss, and all I can offer up is attempting to continue on. Honor the dead, celebrate them. Think back on the good times. How great they were. Their talents, their kindness. I suppose all once can do regarding Yelchin is to take a look at this work. Check it out. Appreciate his skill. I think you should buy this movie, in an era where I usually wouldn’t recommend buying physical media. This is a keeper. It’s a solid item in my collection now, and I’m glad about that. It’s an amazingly tense thriller, shot beautifully and really taking in all that luscious greenery of the Pacific Northwest, and the nuances of punk-life and the small details implemented into this Skinhead world – they all meld together to form a lived in, immersive world. There’s a sense of place, a sense of friendship and youth and being afraid of adulthood, and a definite sense of terror. Granted, Green Room isn’t as poignant or significant as some viewers might have you believe. There’s not prodding into the philosophy or psychology of people here, or any underlying elements to be discussed post-viewing. This is a genre picture, in essence. I was often reminded of Eli Roth’s Hostel (2005), for example – not that this is torture-porn, not at all, but its a disturbing piece of genre fiction. This movie is about one of those moments where you realize you are truly fucked – and it is absolutely terrifying.
Rest in Piece, Anton Yelchin.
You can purchase Green Room here.
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