A mon­ster hunt in the twilight

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Film Reviews -

Green Room; Re­mem­ber ger au­di­ences that like their thrillers bloody, it prob­a­bly pre­vents his work be­ing em­braced by more ma­ture view­ers.

The early scenes of Green Room are ac­tu­ally pretty funny. The Ain’t Rights are a punk band, a quar­tet of mu­si­cians tour­ing Amer­ica in a camper van, strug­gling to make ends meet. Bassist Pat (An­ton Yelchin) is the nom­i­nal group leader, with gui­tarist Sam (Alia Shawkat), drum­mer Reece (Joe Cole) and vo­cal­ist Tiger (Cal­lum Turner). They are so short of cash that they siphon petrol from other cars to keep on the road. Their lat­est gig in­volves play­ing to a tiny au­di­ence at a small diner, from which they net just $6.87 a per­son.

Un­de­terred, they ac­cept an of­fer to play at a club some­where in ru­ral Ore­gon, though they’re warned that it is a “mostly boots and braces” kind of au­di­ence and that they shouldn’t dis­cuss pol­i­tics. The rea­son be­comes ob­vi­ous at the mo­ment that the film’s mood switches from amus­ing to men­ac­ing: the “club” is a home for a neo-Nazi group of nasty char­ac­ters, so their ver­sion of the Dead Kennedys song Nazi Punks F..k Off doesn’t go down too well. Be­ing heck­led by their au­di­ence is the least of their prob­lems, though. As they go back­stage to col­lect their pay­ment they stum­ble on a mur­der: a girl has been stabbed in the head in front of her ter­ri­fied friend Amber (Imo­gen Poots). An at­tempt to con­tact the po­lice is eas­ily thwarted by the club’s owner, the suavely sin­is­ter Darcy (Patrick Ste­wart), and his gang of ruth­less, well-armed men. For much of the rest of the movie, the mu­si­cians, plus Amber, find them­selves trapped in the ti­t­u­lar green room.

It’s to Saulnier’s credit that he suc­ceeds in keep­ing the au­di­ence on the edge of its seats for 90 min­utes. He em­ploys all the tricks of the cin­e­matic trade, in col­lab­o­ra­tion with his cin­e­matog­ra­pher, Sean Porter, whose crisply framed wide-screen im­ages are a key as­set, and ed­i­tor Ju­lia Bloch, whose tim­ing is spot-on. The ac­tors are good too, with Poots a stand­out as the re­source­ful Amber. Part of the fun — if that’s the right word — of this kind of film is guess­ing in which or­der the cast mem­bers will meet a sticky end, and in this case it’s not so easy to guess cor­rectly.

It is vi­o­lent; bod­ies are slashed, throats torn open by sav­age dogs, bul­lets col­lide with heads. On that level, it’s ex­ces­sive; but Saulnier’s un­doubted skills as a direc­tor just about out­weigh his fond­ness for gore.

Patrick Ste­wart, cen­tre, plays a sin­is­ter club owner in be­low, Christo­pher Plum­mer as an aged Nazi hunter in

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