Grade: B+

Everything outside the venue’s green room is interesting. Everything inside becomes dull immediately.

“The Ain’t Rights” are a punk band bent on remaining punk, and that means not giving a shit about anything but punk, which hurts and helps the film in different ways. Without this mentality, a lot of the fun humour in the film would be lost. With this, some scenes border on silliness, and thrillers don’t usually work if they’re silly. If you can get on board with the cynical jokes that undercut (rather than underscore) the film’s serious violence and suspense, you’ll like Green Room.

About a quarter of the way in, The Ain’t Rights finds themselves at a small venue, deep in the woods in Oregon, run by Neo-Nazis. They witness a murder they weren’t supposed to witness, and so the club manager forces them to stay in the venue’s green room with club security. What The Ain’t Rights do before this is unimportant to the overall plot, yet I found it the most interesting by far. I could easily watch a movie about The Ain’t Rights touring crappy clubs until their ultimate demise or breakthrough, rather than winding up in a gun-and-knife-and-dog fight.

Still, the above premise sounds pretty promising, and at certain times it delivers. The violence is much more gruesome than I though it would be. There are brutal slashes to the arm, held together not by bandages but by duct tape; shattered fluorescent tubes made into weapons; war paint made with markers.

The film doesn’t give me enough personal information about the band members to really become invested in them, and even though I learn a little about why there’s a murder, and what the club owner (played by Patrick Stewart) really does, I need more detail. The best thrillers include deeply personal information that the viewer can then latch onto.

By the end of the film I felt a kind of compassion for the (SPOILERS HERE) two survivors, one of which is played by Anton Yelchin, but that’s only because I spent the most time with them.

The third act is startlingly more engaging than the prior two, and it’s what caused me to add a plus to the review grade. The third act makes the rest of the film worth it, if only because most of the act takes place somewhere other than inside the green room, and we as the audience feel the same relief as the characters.

Note: Written and directed by Jeremy Saulnier, who I’ll be keeping an eye out for in the future.

Note: An interesting role for Patrick Stewart. Respect.

Note: Anton Yelchin always seemed interested in trying something new, whether it was a blockbuster like Star Trek or smaller films like this. His passing away is definitely our loss.


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