‘Green Room’ – Film Review

This gripping homage to ’70s grindhouse thrillers pits a scrawny punk band against a legion of Nazi skinheads

Every artist has a bad gig from time to time. Dave Grohl had one last year when he fell off a Swedish stage and broke his leg. David Bowie had one in Norway in 2004 when a fan threw a lollipop on stage and it wedged itself stick-first between his eyeball and eyelid. Even Ed Sheeran recently revealed that he “once misjudged a fart on stage, which ended up being a shart.”

These incidents are a mere speck compared to the fate that befalls punk band The Ain’t Rights in Green Room, writer/director Jeremy Saulnier’s follow-up to 2013’s crowd-funded, critically acclaimed Blue Ruin. Green Room sees the four-piece band – comprising Arrested Development’s Alia Shawkat, Star Trek’s Anton Yelchin and Brits Joe Cole and Callum Turner – on a grim, low-budget tour of America’s Pacific Northwest in a crappy old van. They take on an unscheduled gig in the middle of nowhere to pay for petrol – only to find themselves playing a neo-Nazi punk club.

Despite the alarmingly ballsy move of opening their set with Dead Kennedy’s’ ‘Nazi Punks F*** Off’, they’re all set to motor on unscathed – but then Shawkat’s character Sam witnesses a violent incident in the backstage room and they’re barricaded in by the club’s management.

Owner/Nazi-in-chief Darcy Banker (portrayed with a wicked balance of menace and civility by Patrick Stewart) is summoned and a stalemate is reached. On one side is the band plus hostage Big Justin (Eric Edelstein) and mysterious-but-possibly-quite-nice Nazi Amber (Imogen Poots). On the other, a cabal of skinheads and their hungry bulldogs.What follows is an incredibly tense, utterly engrossing story in which blood is shed, guts are spilled, punk pretences are punctured – and the chances of a new Ain’t Rights album become increasingly slim.

Wound tighter than a top E string, Green Room is not just a great twist on the gory survival thriller – it’s a great gory survival thriller full stop.