Patrick Stewart Transforms 'Green Room' Into an Intelligently Violent Drama


Green Room is another winner from the makers of Blue Ruin. Will all their movies be named after colors? You've heard of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Well, Green Room is about a band who played the wrong gig for the wrong crowd.

A hard up rock band gets stiffed on one gig and takes another as backup, but the new gig is for a white power club. They take it, thinking a gig is a gig and they just won't talk about politics. When they see something they shouldn't have seen in the green room, the manager, Gabe (Macon Blair), won't let them leave, and calls in his boss, Darcy (Patrick Stewart). 

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Alia Shawkat as Sam, Anton Yelchin as Pat, and Callum Turner as Tiger in 'Green Room' Broad Green Pictures

What follows is a complex stalemate, since both sides are smart enough to know it can't resolve. The band knows the Nazi club owners won't let them live, but how can Gabe and Darcy get into the green room when they know the band knows that? It's an in-depth logic problem, like The Prisoner's Dilemma, brought to life dramatically. Both sides proceed to try to figure this new stumper out. The band members make smart decisions with their limited options, as panicked as they are. 

When the violence escalates, it is shocking and graphic, just like it was in Blue Ruin. Director Jeremy Saulnier has a special talent for making violence looks as uncomfortable as it really is, yet compelling you to want to see more. 

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Turner and Yelchin take things seriously, Broad Green Pictures

The dialogue is poetic. Not that it's too highfalutin to be believable as words people would say in a crisis, but the characters make powerful observations about fear and survival. Darcy scolds Gabe for bad moral judgements, because even though he's a racist criminal, he's disappointed his people broke the criminal code. All the drama is in what's not said, threats that are not threats as long as they're just statements of fact.

Stewart is scary as hell in this, by the way. Blair is threatening in that calm way of letting the victims figure out the threat without having to say it. Another great discovery is Eric Edelstein as a muscle head enforcer. The band members (Anton Yelchin, Alia Shawkat, Joe Cole and Callum Turner) feel like a scrappy gang of misfits who rise up when their lives depend on it. As a wild card thrown into the mix, Imogen Poots is captivating with every unpredictable turn. Green Room is the movie to watch for when it comes out.

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