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For months now, I have been eagerly anticipating watching Green Room.

However, that anticipation turned to dread when I heard the awful news about Anton Yelchin.

I wish I had the opportunity to watch Green Room without the knowledge of his death in my head. It was inescapable—it was always on my mind whenever he was on the screen. Although I’m profoundly sad that I won’t get to see any more Anton Yelchin performances, this movie will forever serve as a superb reminder of his supreme talent. Anton was just one of many reasons to love this movie.

Anton Yelchin

Green Room is about a punk rock group called “The Ain’t Rights” who happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. In particular, Anton Yelchin’s character (Pat) sees something he shouldn’t have seen in the green room of a neo-Nazi skinhead bar. It takes a little while to arrive at that point, but the story explodes from there. In the first act, there’s a strong sense of foreboding and impending doom.

The group has their backs against the wall as they are trapped in the green room while both parties try to determine what to do. One of the best lines in the movie comes from Macon Blair’s character, Gabe, “We’re not keeping you here, you’re just staying.” Gabe is the right-hand man of neo-Nazi leader Darcy who is played by Patrick Stewart. It is very clear who is in charge of this situation.

The other members of “The Ain’t Rights” are played by Alia Shawkat (Sam), Joe Cole (Reece), and Callum Turner (Tiger). You probably recognize Alia Shawkat as Maeby from Arrested Development and Joe Cole as John Shelby from Peaky Blinders. I had no idea who the hell Callum Turner was before this movie, but Turner joins Shawkat and Cole with impressive performances in their supporting roles. Writer/Director Jeremy Saulnier makes “The Ain’t Rights” a believable punk rock group.

The Ain't Rights

One of the hallmarks of Saulnier is his ability to create and capture gritty realism.

In that respect, Green Room is no different than Blue Ruin—Saulnier’s previous film. The violence is real and visceral. At one point, it is literally hard to stomach. Using the actual neo-Nazi movement in the Pacific Northwest as the backdrop only makes this movie feel more authentic.

Personally, I am a big fan of Jeremy Saulnier’s style. Although the story isn’t spectacular, Green Room is a claustrophobic thriller. While I was watching this movie, I couldn’t help but imagine myself in the same scenario. What would you do? Everyone wants to picture themselves as Rambo mowing through the bad guys. But the reality is that this group has nowhere to go. The odds are stacked against them.

Even if they manage to make it out of the green room alive, then they have to find a way out of the club. If they can escape the club alive, then they have to traverse the woods and find a way back to civilization from the middle of nowhere. There are no cops coming to save you.

Everyone’s fight-or-flight instincts are put to the ultimate test in this movie.

Green Room is incredibly bleak but unbelievably tense. I wish there was more of an entertaining element to mix up the dreary drama like some dark humor or an over-the-top performance from Patrick Stewart. But that’s just my desire for cinematic moments. Instead, Saulnier’s intention seems to be making unbelievably believable movies—as if he’s filming real life. His success is undeniable.

The evil in this movie is palpable. The force of their will feels unrelenting. As Patrick Stewart’s character (Darcy, leader of the neo-Nazis) says, “It’s not a party. It’ s a movement.” These villains are menacing in pursuit of their goal, but utterly practical in their determination to wipe out the opposition.

Patrick Stewart

This movie will continue to stick in my mind for several reasons. While Anton Yelchin will have further appearances in movies released after his death, Green Room is a fitting goodbye to such a talented young actor. You can see the promise Yelchin held through his performance as Pat. It was heartbreaking to see the fear in his eyes and to hear his voice crack while trying to handle the overwhelming pressure. Hopefully, people will eventually find this gem and enjoy Green Room as much as I did.

I hated to see this movie come to an end. I just wanted the ride to continue.

Ride

4.5 out of 5 stars

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