Green Room full movie review - Intense Thriller that Holds Up to the Hype
In today's age of social media, movies so often tend to be judged anymore by how they compare to their hype.
It's getting harder for us, as an audience, to go into a movie with blind expectation and judge the movie on the merits of its' own artistic or entertainment value. I'm not pointing a finger because I'm just as guilty as the next person. We hear a movie sucks, we go into it expecting it to suck. On the other hand, movies like this come along that get praised all over the internet and it is very hard not to build it onto a pedestal. Naturally, few movies can actually hold up to the hype that surrounds them, so very often the haters come out of the woodwork and do their best to knock the movie back down.
I truly felt that this movie was worth all of the positive things I have heard about it and, indeed, it exceeded my expectations. I will get one comment out of the way, right from the get go. I have heard many sites proclaiming this as one of the best HORROR movies of the year. As a result, I find a lot of people that would consider themselves to be horror fans checking it out. If you are going to base your opinion of this movie solely on whether it met your definition and expectation of horror than many will be disappointed. We can debate all day long on the definition of horror. I find my own definition to be different than a lot of critics, but I wouldn't put this movie into that category. It's a thriller, violent and intense, but a thriller all the same. So, let's just get that out of the way. If you're one of those people that expected "scary" and gore filled, then this isn't for you. Don't hate it just because it didn't deliver what you wanted.
The movie starts off a little slow and I've heard a lot of complaints that it lacks character development...blah blah blah. So many reviewers throw around terms they hear from the so called "professionals" and don't even understand them in the first place. Do the characters have an arc where something is learned? Probably not, but I feel that the movie does a good job of introducing us to each character's personality, which is important as the action unfolds. This is most important for our main character, played by the late Anton Yelchin, who is non-violent and unpretentious and probably the person in this band the least apt to be able to deal with the circumstances surrounding them.
The band enters a scene they are clearly intimidated by, in the first place, and doing their best to make the best of, when one minor action puts them directly onto a path of destruction and violence. From there, the viewer can debate whether the character's actions led to further violence, or if it was ever avoidable in the first place. The viewer is, then, gripped by a tension that is palpable. The director does a fantastic job of increasing the tension slowly and ratcheting the mood until it's almost so painful we need the release of violence.
Violence there is, in spades. The movie makes good use of blood and some effects shots, without ever going over the top with it. There is just the right amount to make some viewers squirm without descending into cartoonish lunacy. The villains are mostly generic, except for Patrick Stewart. Many have praised the role and I won't go that far. I don't think we ever see enough of him to really say it's a "great role", but he's cold and calculating and willing to do what is necessary to protect his own interests with no mercy.
Our heroes are a punk band and a skinhead girl caught up in the wrong place and time. Yelchin is the band's quiet one, the one least willing to reveal himself in the interview with a zine writer. His meekness makes him a natural choice to be the guy the audience will empathize with and fear for through the film. Even in the face of unspeakable violence, he never truly gives in to it. Where many a movie would have resorted to our character going crazy in a fit of rage and enacting justice on the villains, our hero never truly loses himself, though he will do what is needed to survive. I felt that is one of the strong suits of the movie is we never see that ridiculous plot where an ordinary joe suddenly becomes a superhuman psycho with all the right moves and plans. We never really lose sight of who these kids were in the beginning.
This won't be for everyone. Certainly those without the stomach for violence will be turned off. As mentioned before, those looking for a horrific thrill ride are going to be disappointed. If you go into it with an open mind, though, the movie is a tense and exciting thriller that never leaves its' grounding in reality and never resorts to Hollywood clichés.
Oh...one more thing just because it's a pet peeve. There are a few complaints about "dark scenes" where you "can't see anything"......Get a better television with more definition of color. I found the movie to look great on blu-ray.