Director: Jeremy Saulnier~
Starring: Anton Yelchin, Imogen Poots, Patrick Stewart, Alia Shawkat, Joe Cole, Macon Blair . USA . 1h 35m
Here’s another gorgeous piece of gore from the invigorating direction Jeremy Saulnier, the director who likes to use colours in his film titles. After the success of the brutal revenge movie Blue Ruin (2013) he returns with a punks vs nazi horror flick that hold back no punches.
In the UK there was a similar but tamer film that ran into a mini series called This is England which showed the peaceful Skins get tainted by psychotic politics and there was a divide as the Nazi’s tried to take the scene over. This pales in comparison to the night of hell this alternative band is about to experience in the Green Room but it’s equally important to make a note of the difference of opinions between punks and nazi’s..
Seemed to be the next on the list of taboo scenarios that attracts the attention of Saulnier, Punks vs nazi’s has been an age old battle. But what’s really interesting is Saulnier’s choice of cast, it seems the unlikely bunch, Patrick Stewart, especially after his years with American Dad just doesn’t “sound” like a neo nazi leader but being such a brilliant actor he performed so well, as does the small role by the main star of Blue Ruin (2013), Macon Blair who’s the cutest and most polite fascist ever. But let’s start at the beginning…
A group of young punk rockers tour America siphoning petrol, playing raw live gigs for the real underground fans and not for the money, playing a circuit for a while they hook up with a promoter who’s been a fan of their work for some time. After performing a short interview with them, they party and then he leads them on to a few gigs, the last stop is a bit off the beaten track and he’s warned them about a few right wingers but they take it all in their stride and antagonise the crowd by playing a cover of Napalm Death’s Nazi Punk Fuk Off,they don’t care what’s the worst that can happen!?
They pack up and leave, but absentmindedly forget the one phone they share between each other, Pat (Yelchin) returns for the phone but upon entering the Green Room there’s a tragic murder scene. A young Punk girl has a large knife sticking out of her head, another girl Amber (Poots) is standing scared, Pat pretends that he doesn’t see anything, tries to leave and then phones the police with the thugs chasing him, things get twisted and basically they end up locking themselves in the Green room while the Nazi’s organise themselves in the club and a bloody siege begins.
The film gets incredibly violence from here on, the Nazi’s aren’t fucking around they are out to get their red laces, the band with the addition of Amber make a great stand against their oppressors. Sadly the nazi’s have the upper hand, knowing the layout, having weapons and with a dirty secret in the basement that they are willing to kill to protect.
It’s more than just physical mindless violence, the band are quite deep thinkers, especially Pat (Yelchin) he manages to get his arm chopped up pretty early on, but it’s quickly gaffer tape him back togerher, he keeps everyone motivated as he staggers through the film, potentially bleeding to death but he’s stronger than he looks…
His main back up guy is the equally young Joe Cole, who plays wrestling champion Reece is superb in his controlled role, this boy will go far! As the muscle of the operation he manages to pin down the lone Nazi that they manage to trap in the room with them and keep him under control with his amazing wrestling skills.
Chuck in some angry fighting dogs who have been taught to rip out throats, a lot of blood, and all the typical behavior you’d expect from some fucked on neo nazi’s and you have a full on brawl as the viscera flies secrets are outed and it becomes an epic battle both mentally and physically. The band are pretty resourceful and use whatever they have to hack and beat their way to freedom.
Some scenes really stand out due to their crisp violence, but in between things really mellow out, and I started to find the everyone cast just not really suitable for their role. Yelchin’s quivery voice breaking into some classic heartfelt lines, the groups mark twain and Cole’s London street value, none of them could really pass as rockers or punks, but it doesn’t distract from this being a powerful dark movie.
5s: Patrick Stewart, Anton Yelchin, Imogen Poots