It’s Punks vs. Skinheads in TIFF Midnight Madness Opener Green Room
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It’s Punks vs. Skinheads in TIFF Midnight Madness Opener Green Room

Patrick Stewart takes on a rare villainous role in this brutal, bloody siege thriller by Blue Ruin director Jeremy Saulnier

Sir Patrick Stewart and his unhappy neo Nazi friends in Green Room. Photo courtesy of TIFF

Sir Patrick Stewart and his unhappy neo-Nazi friends in Green Room. Photo courtesy of TIFF.

In Green Room, the new film by Blue Ruin director Jeremy Saulnier, a struggling young punk band (Callum Turner, Anton Yelchin, Alia Shawkat and Joe Cole) takes a gig at a secluded backwoods dive only to discover that it’s a grim neo-Nazi enclave run by a quietly menacing Sir Patrick Stewart (amusingly named Darcy). Once there, the band members happen upon a just-committed murder—and then, as the only witnesses, must fight their way out of the titular room through throngs of red-laced skinheads and their attack dogs. While the film takes the occasional pause for slow-motion slamdancing and ruminations about paintball and desert island albums, it does build up a healthy head of suspense amid the splatter and gore. The cast is uniformly fine, with Imogen Poots taking top honours as a friend of the murder victim who embraces the hopelessness of the situation with aplomb.

Paired with Green Room is the eye-widening Canadian short The Chickening, directed by Davy Force and Nick DenBoer. A frenetic digital defacing of Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining, the film crowds every frame of its five-minute length with layers of visual mayhem. While it has a few laugh-out-loud gags (the axe-murdered twin girls of the Overlook, for example, have had a most surprising makeover), the film works best as a special effects calling card and really only soars when Jack Nicholson or Shelley Duvall are onscreen.

Green Room and The Chickening have a second TIFF screening on Saturday, September 12 at 2:15 p.m. at the Bloor Hot Docs Cinema.

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