From Blue Ruin to Green Room
Writer/director Jeremy Saulnier's follow-up to his impressive and intense sophomore thriller, Blue Ruin, maintains the claustrophobic tension, amps the gore, and goes for the gut.Arguably more of an outright horror - both in terms of picked-off one-by-one bodycount and sheer gory violence - than his previous film which was essentially an atypical revenge thriller, Green Room is a brief but painful exercise in taut, tense filmmaking. With well over a third of the movie used to establish the low rent teen/twentysomething punk band and their desperate-for-cash gig for a bunch of white supremacist Nazis, the inadvertent witnessing of a murder suddenly changes the entire dynamic, and Green Room goes blood red. As the group panic about how they are going to make it out alive, their opponents sharpen their blades for what they expect to be an easy kill.Calling on Patrick Stewart - in a turn about as far as you could get away from anything he's done before - to give direction to the seemingly unstoppable force of Nazi executioners, the film marks the last outing for the late Anton Yelchin, who partners with a game Imogen Poots to headline the defenders in this violent survival horror. Saulnier directs the hell out of the dingy backwaters club setting, as the walls close in on the would-be victims, and the dogs are unleashed. Not for the sqeamish, Green Room doesn't play around with the genre too much, but an unusual setting and set-up proves enough to give this flick its own identity.
Picture QualityGiven the dingy setting of Green Room, the video presentation was never really going to impress
The movie comes complete with a 1080p/AVC-encoded High Definition video presentation framed in its original theatrical aspect ratio of 2.40:1 widescreen and, thankfully, even the limited visual prowess of the setting never undermines the tone or content of the piece. In many ways you could even argue that it benefits the movie, whose dark and visceral subject-matter is matched and further enhanced by the dingy, dank, grimy setting. Technically, this leaves detail often muted, and at the whim of limited lighting, variable softness and hazy grain. The colours are skewed to leave even skintones a frequently jaundiced yellowy-green, whilst blacks are seldom deep and enveloping; the fine boundary between the smoke-filled haze of the backroom club and the technically unstable shadows being crushed. Still, it suits the tone of the piece, and works for its content, so whilst it won't win any demo awards, Green Room seldom looks less than what you'd expect.
Sound QualityThe accompanying soundtrack only helps to further enhance the already unbearable tension
Boasting a striking DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track (and a more restricted but still impressive 2.0 alternative), Green Room is an intense, constantly thrumming animal at an aural level, coming alive during its live punk performances, but also benefiting from a LFE rumble that helps heighten the tension almost throughout. It's a minimalist design but effective nonetheless, and weapons further liven up the proceedings, as slashes cut through flesh and gunshots leave corpses unrecognisable. Dialogue remains well-prioritised, from the whispers and plotting to the desperate cries and screams, and overall this is an impressive, intense accompaniment that delivers the goods on all fronts.
ExtrasHeadlined by an Audio Commentary with the Writer/Director, the disc also comes with a 10 minute Making-Of Featurette which offers interviews with the cast and crew, including Stewart.
Blu-ray VerdictGreen Room makes for a strong follow-up to the impressive Blue Ruin
Whilst not as fresh as the writer/director's last feature, Green Room benefits from an unusual setting and set-up, delivering gory, high tension thrills with visceral impact. The Blu-ray release - even without demo video - delivers the goods, and this is well worth checking out.
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