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“We won’t all live, but maybe we won’t all die”

Taken from Anton Saulnier’s Green room, the above line sums up the nihilistic nature of this project. This is Saulnier’s second feature film and a noticeable improvement on the excellent Blue Ruin. The plot is simple, but the action is visceral and unpleasant enough to forgive this.

We follow a young punk band as they encounter a failed interview with an aspiring journalist. What follows is 95 minutes of terror, energy and simply gorgeous cinema. This all unfurls after they are invited to play at a “far right, or extreme left” gig in a small venue in Oregon. After an impromptu cover of the Dead Kennedy’s “Nazi Punks Fuck Off” all hell swiftly breaks loose.

The band find themselves, without any real explanation, in the targets of a ruthless group of neo Nazis. Led by none other than Patrick Stewart. That’s right, Jean Luc Picard is fascist. It’s rare in this type of cat and mouse film that we actually care about the hunted. But, this is one of the main aspects where Green Room shines.

In the form of talented young actors such as Anton Yelchin and Imogen Poots, we gain a real connection to the prey. This makes it all the more difficult to watch as they are mercilessly dispatched. Saulnier’s mixture of quick cut editing and lingering shots, makes the action sequences things of beauty. Sean Porter’s cinematography is consistently cold throughout. We are shown an unwelcoming world through his lens. It is one that he and Saulnier take pleasure in twisting to further depraved depths. We are kept in the dark both plot wise and cinematically, with only sparing allusions as to the nature of Stewart’s accomplices. This brings back memories of Assault on Prescient 13 (the Carpenter original) with its unbearably tense narrative.

Released May 13th 2016

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