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