A broke hard-core band attempting to tour America on the fly take up a gig at a neo-Nazi skinhead bar in which they decide to open with The Dead Kennedys song “Nazi Punks Fuck off” an act that, shall we say, does not go down that well. After they finish their set they become witnesses to possibly a murder and they end up locked inside the green room of this bar with some very angry skinheads with big sticks and dogs waiting for them outside.
Green Room is a stripped back thriller that takes one situation and takes it as far as is absolutely possible – the result being something that had me on the edge of my seat for the entire runtime and occasionally hiding from the screen because it was just a bit too intense. And this intensity works because you’ve built up a genuine liking for the characters and you centrally care about their situation. And really now watching a group of rebellious liberals getting hunted by a mass of enraged white supremacists is now staggeringly relevant. Almost painfully so really.
The performances here are universally excellent with a very compelling lead role in Anton Yelcin, and a completely unexpected and rather threatening rare antagonistic role for Patrick Stewart. Elsewhere Alia Shawkat, Joe Cole and Macon Blair shine. And this really is the key to how tense the entire movie is. Once you care about and like the main characters really the tension creates itself.
Overall Green Room is an incredibly tense and powerful piece of work. An exercise in a simple idea taken to its furthest. I highly recommend it.