Movie people, what is with preview timings?! Every single goddamn preview for a decent film appears to be on a Monday Night, which I can't do as I'm at work, or a Sunday morning, which I usually can't do as I'm at work. Grr. So I missed around 4 or 5 screenings for this damn film, which I really (and I mean really) wanted to friggin see! Usually I end up at meh chick-flicks and big blockbusters, but the times at which an awesome ride like this comes along, for some reason the stars just don't align. Alas, due to some sort of cosmic train of inconvenience, I was even unable to catch it on opening week, let alone opening night... so two weeks after it hit the silver screen, I dashed along to my beloved Cameo to catch it while I still could. And, lo and behold, a rush of vital important activity prevented me from writing this review for almost a whole month...
At least it's in time for the DVD release.
Such is the buzz surrounding Green Room that the retro comparison is further justified. For one, the sensationalist warnings are out in the fore: 'The film that has made people faint'.... 'too shocking for a BBFC classification'...... 'the most violent film'..... etc. etc. It's the modern equivalent of 'you'd better not watch it alone', or 'keep telling yourself it's only a movie', or any of the ingenious posters for the Exorcist that were floating around at the time of it's release. Are these comparisons justified? I suppose to a degree, yes, but as is the nature with all films in the shocking bracket, our 21st Century life has handily desensitised us to cinematic violence, language, sex, and the like... so pushing the boat far enough out to actually shock people involves making a Serbian Film.
Nobody wants to see a Serbian Film.
Don't see a Serbian Film.
|A nice exploration of the punk scene.|
From early on, Saulnier does all the things that Saulnier has proved he can do well. Like. Really. Fucking. Well. Firstly, the tension. Instantly, the Friday the 13th pheromones hover in the mist of the woods as our merry band of miserable travelers arrive at the Nazi retreat. Here, a mere slip of the tongue can mean extreme violence and quite possibly death. Of course, upon discovering the body and becoming locked in a room with enclosing gangs of extremists (naturally armed to the teeth), that tension ramps itself up even further - and then maintains itself at that level as the band attempt to escape and are gradually cut down by the crazies. Not that they don't give it their best shot... (more on that shortly). This level of relentless tension matches Blue Ruin in every respect, and also in tonality - given Ruin's final scenes in an abandoned house.
|Brexiters. Oh shit... erm.... sorry, I mean Neo-nazis...|
|Hints of violence...|
|Patrick Stewart in his awesome role.|
Another thing that Saulnier accomplishes particularly well is an authentic portrayal of both punk culture and neo-nazi culture. Slang is appropriately used throughout the picture by a director who was himself once a punk. For instance, the unsettling moment when Patrick Stewart announces that the job of taking the band out will be reserved 'for red laces only' is chilling in the same ambiguous way that the original Blair Witch was: what the audience doesn't know is far more frightening than what it does.
|Green Room gets 4 stars!|