Odeon launched Scream Unseen last night, Screen Unseen’s dirty cousin it seems as we have been promised that the films will be horrors, thrillers or just gore fests and the first offering was Green Room. I had read quite a bit of positive buzz about this film all over the internet from various sources who saw it at various film festivals. Throw into the mix that Jeremy Saulnier directed this, who debuted with the superb Blue Ruin (well worth checking out if you haven’t seen it) also the fact it’s not out here in the UK till 13th May and its safe to say I was pretty excited for this film.
This film is dirty, grimy, nasty and pure horrible and I mean that in the best way possible. Such a throwback to grimy grindhouse cinema, this film is a high stakes pressure cooker. One thing I loved about this film was the slow build up. I went to see it with my girlfriend and afterwards she said it took a while to get going but that’s what I loved most about it, I cared for all the members of this punk band who are trapped by these white supremacists neo-nazis. That is pretty much the plot of the film, which fits perfectly with the late night midnight screening cult crowd. I could easily see this film being shown as a double bill with Blue Ruin. Jeremy Saulnier proves here that he is one of the best low budget-genre indie filmmakers around as he superbly shifts genres from revenge noir into siege mechanics reminiscent of Assault on Precinct 13.
The film opens with us meeting the band The Ain’t Rights and the impressive thing about the opening 30 minutes of this film is that in that short time we learn who the characters are and not just names but motivations and who they are as people, see them play a cover of Dead Kennedy’s Nazi Punks Fuck Off which doesn’t go down too well and also stumble upon a corpse backstage which leaves them holed up in the Green Room. The manager of the club Gabe played by Macon Blair star of Saulnier’s Blue Ruin, who after learning of what has happened calls in Darcy (Patrick Stewart) who I have never seen play evil in a film and you can see he relishes this opportunity. He nails his performance as the wickedly intelligent leader with a real cruel mean streak about him.
Like many great film’s of the 70’s this film has intelligent witty fast paced dialogue mixed with truly shocking gory moments, some of the violence here is extremely brutal. It is tense viewing as both sides try to work out ways in which to outsmart one another and the writing here allows us to be invested in both sides whilst the shock horror/violent moments hit us in short but extremely memorable bursts. Some may complain that this film isn’t a socially aware film which is delving into the mix of the American neo-nazi scene but when a film knows its a genre film which is here to make us laugh, wince and be shock value who really cares?
Overall I would say this a truly riotous film with fantastic performances and a real true grit underneath its darkly comic tone.