Remember the highly acclaimed 2014 revenge film Blue Ruin, with the absolutely breathtaking performance by an unknown actor named Macon Blair who should have won every available acting award? No? Correct this oversight immediately, and then go see writer-director Jeremy Saulnier’s tense follow-up.
After a gig at an out-of-the-way bar, a punk band (Anton Yelchin, Alia Shawkat of “Arrested Development,” Joe Cole and Callum Turner) witness an act of violence that puts them at odds with a murderous gang of white supremacists led by Captain Picard/Professor X himself, Patrick Stewart. The film’s staggering tension keeps increasing as the band’s Carpenterian situation (no one-location movie can escape comparisons to the master of horror) gets ever more dire.
Saulnier brilliantly structures this film to make its small cast and location a benefit rather than a cost. The film’s extreme violence is meaningfully striking; I am a desensitized horror regular, and I physically reacted to the realistic harm being perpetrated. Naturally, Saulnier again employs Blair, whose fantastic performance as reluctant bar manager Gabe (he has to earn those red laces) is far away from his Blue Ruin breakthrough, while Yelchin continues to separate himself from his under-30 peers.
Though more exploitation than horror, Green Room will sate horror junkies without turning off indie film lovers looking for their latest post-festival high. Green Room is far and away the best film currently playing in Athens; see it before it is gone. (I hope you did not miss the quick run of the previous best film in Athens, Midnight Special.) And watch Blue Ruin, for goodness’ sake. You will not be disappointed by either.
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