In keeping with the thrillers of recent years is Green Room – a movie where Sir Patrick Stewart plays a Neo-Nazi. Didn’t need to know anything else to be interested.
Green Room (2015) is a thriller/horror film written and directed by Jeremy Saulnier (Murder Party, Blue Ruin). It stars an ensemble cast of the late Anton Yelchin, Joe Cole, Alia Shawkat, David W. Thompson and Callum Turner as a heavy metal band touring the country who after seeing something they shouldn’t have in the back room of a Neo-Nazi club must survive against an onslaught from club leader Darcy (Patrick Stewart).
While described as a thriller, Green Room is much more content to take its time and build atmosphere and character between thrills. Considering I saw this very recently after the solid Don’t Breathe, Green Room struck me as more interested in peaks and troughs than constant tension which makes me personally think of it as the better film even if other-minded individuals may find it lull in thrills and pace. Unapologetically violent and gory, when Green Room however does want to be scary, it is goddamn terrifying, making it edge towards horror over thriller. That being said, the film suffers in the plotting itself, with parts of the second and third acts being dragged down by plot holes, leaps in logic and the occasional questionable character decision. This isn’t a deal breaker but likely to irk the odd viewer.
This tension is helped along by a smattering of talented actors also. The band struggles a bit by each character not being clearly defined during the first act, but when the story kicks into gear each actor settles comfortably into being rootable protagonists, with the late Anton Yelchin and Imogen Poots being particular standouts. However, they all pale in comparison to Sir Patrick Stewart himself, the easy highlight of the entire film. This is a role that to the best of my knowledge is completely new territory for the acting legend, and he plays Neo-Nazi leader Darcy as the most calculating, softly-spoken deliciously hateable villain I’ve seen in a long time. The scariest thing about him is that he never conforms to the typical deranged horror movie villain – he feels more business than psychotic and that ruthlessly efficient delivery makes him all the more sinister.
So come for Nazi-Stewart, and stay for a slick and intense thriller/horror ride. The shocks of Green Room are likely to stick around, and aside from a few wonky plot moments, its an encounter worth having.
General Audiences: Highly Recommended
Film Buffs: Highly Recommended