"KEEP BUSTIN'."

Green Room

tn_greenroomGREEN ROOM has a pretty good spin on a classic setup: a touring punk band in a siege movie. This shitty young band called The Ain’t Rights, living out of their van and crashing with strangers, spending more on beer than on gas, going out of their way for questionable gigs in The Middle of Nowhere, Oregon, end up locked in the dressing room of a scary skinhead club because one of them walked in on a murder. The Punks Who Knew Too Much.

If there’s not already an ad that says “it’s ROMPER STOMPER meets ASSAULT ON PRECINCT 13!!!” then here it is available to cut and paste, A24 Films.

I have very little experience in the world of punk rock, but from my ignorant perspective this comes off as a more authentic depiction than any of the other movies I’ve seen about it. That includes RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD. And I don’t consider Cherry Bomb from HOWARD THE DUCK to be punk at all. Anyway I’ll be interested to find out if my musician friends find more fault with it than I did. To me it feels like writer/director Jeremy Saulnier might’ve come up with the idea while playing in a band like this, or if not he must’ve known people in this life. Like his first movie MURDER PARTY (a horror comedy in the world of Brooklyn hipster artists) it seems to be inspired by subcultures and people he knows from life, not movies. And like his second movie BLUE RUIN (an indie revenge drama) it goes out of its way to make violence messier, uglier and more difficult than in most movies. Like, what if it wasn’t Bruce Willis, but a regular dude like you who had to fight his way out of a corner using sharp objects he finds laying around?

But it comes a little closer than the other two movies to straight up embracing its genre. It even uses the always enjoyable action movie move of one of the band members getting referred to as “Jiujitsu” and then it turns out he really is a practicioner of said martial art. His armlocks and chokeholds come in handy.

Pat is sort of the lead character, and he’s played by Anton Yelchin (young Chekov, young Kyle Reese, “Boy in Burning Building” from 15 MINUTES). Also there’s Callum Turner (VICTOR FRANKENSTEIN), Joe Cole (SECRET IN THEIR EYES) as the jiujitsu guy, and most notably Alia Shawkat, who is from Arrested Development, but unfortunately that’s the TV show, not the rap group, even though she’s playing a musician, so obviously they should’ve gotten the rap group, and I don’t know what they were thinking. But she’s good.

mp_greenroomOn tour they sort of have to depend on the kindness of strangers, so it’s too bad the strangers they end up with are white supremacists. In search of a small payday they end up at this compound in the woods. The manager guy Gabe (Macon Blair, star of BLUE RUIN) seems okay at first, but if he was a nice guy why would he be working here, you must ask. Once they’re trapped in the room they find themselves negotiating through the door with the professorial white power cult leader Darcy (Patrick Stewart, WILD GEESE II), who tries to act very reasonable before sending in his army of skinhead goons and their hungry pitbulls to chop them up with machetes but try not to hit the bone.

It doesn’t feel like there’s time for a lesson about consorting with bad people for a paycheck. But let me assure you that The Ain’t Rights are not fans of these people even before they’re in a death match against them. Before playing Yelchin says “I have a bad idea” and I guessed what he had in mind: they’re gonna go up there and play The Dead Kennedys’ “Nazi Punks Fuck Off.” A punk reference that I knew. Maybe that means the movie’s too obvious, but I was still proud of myself. (do you guys think I should get a mohawk?)

Trapped in the room with them is Amber (Yelchin’s FRIGHT NIGHT co-star Imogen Poots) and she’s on their side because it was her friend that got stabbed to death. But she’s at this place on purpose. She wants out now, but that means at one point she wanted in, and that’s hard for me to overlook, especially when she gives a variation on the “a black guy did something to me one time so I take it out on his entire race and all non-white people” excuse. In ASSAULT ON PRECINCT 13 we can be told that the hero is in jail for murder, but respect him for his honorable actions during the movie, because it’s in this heightened modern western type world made of broad strokes and symbolism; a world that’s easy to let exist only in the present, and not extend our imaginations into its past or future. GREEN ROOM is more grounded in the real world, so I feel like maybe this recent-racist doesn’t deserve the forgiveness that Poots’s charm and hair cut trick us into giving her.

“She’s a bad girl, she gets into all kinds of trouble!” is a character I can easily accept and root for. “I guarantee you she uses the n-word!” is different. (Something Tarantino used to mess with us in THE HATEFUL EIGHT.)

But it’s nice to see a movie that’s not playing around. There are some horrifying injuries, vividly depicted, and given less than ideal medical treatment (by which I mean they are wrapped in duct tape). When one of them happens it’s followed by a whole lot of screaming and crying. A more realistic amount of anguish than you usually see in a movie. It’s upsetting. There are stakes.

Although I liked the movie quite a bit, I did feel at the end like it was not quite climactic enough, I didn’t feel that “phew, they just made it” relief of, say, Sally in the back of the pickup truck in THE TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE. Maybe they went through the wringer enough, but I think it wasn’t timed out quite right. They certainly go through many challenges, but then at the end it’s… kinda easy?

I think this is a consequence of an intentional artistic choice to not follow some of the usual storytelling conventions. In Saulnier’s world there is no mercy. Major characters can die suddenly, even in rapid succession, and then the others have to keep moving and barely even acknowledge it. New characters can be added just to get your hopes up and then take them away from you. And guns in this world are guns, you’re pretty much done if you get hit, so there aren’t alot of long, elaborate duels.

Most of the creativity and fun is used up in the battle against some lower-on-the-totem-pole guys. Then it feels like it’s gotta take it to the next level for a big ending… and it doesn’t. That might be intentional. Obviously it wasn’t gonna end in a big car chase or warehouse shootout. But starting at a scream and ending on a whimper is not the most satisfying flavor of subversion.

Full disclosure, though: a fire alarm went off in the theater and I had to miss a couple minutes as the shit was hitting the fan. Also I saw it in a giant theater with the modest crowd all spread around. I’m sure an uninterrupted experience with a more compact audience would be ideal for the tension in this movie.

Even without that, though, this is a pretty good one, and best of luck to Saulnier with what I assume will be his next movie, RED SONJA. Also I hope he gets a chance to do GREEN ROOM 2: THE METAL YEARS. The bad guys could be Christian extremists who believe the band are devil worshipers.

This entry was posted on Monday, April 25th, 2016 at 12:10 pm and is filed under Reviews, Thriller. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

37 Responses to “Green Room”

  1. Wow, I’m really surprised you weren’t more blown away by this one. Seen it twice already and it is really, really hard to imagine falling more in love with another flick this year.

    As someone whose attended hundreds of punk shows since the late 80’s I was really impressed with the level of authenticity (although I would classify The Aint RIghts as, technically, a “hard core” band) and it came as no surprise to find out that the director was in a DC hard core band about 20 years ago. In fact, most of the music in the film is from his old band…which I think is awesome. SPOILERS BELOW, but I wanted to address some of your complaints:

    -“It doesn’t feel like there’s time for a lesson about consorting with bad people for a paycheck.” I have a feeling that your musician friends (if they’ve ever played punk/hard core/death metal sub-genre bands) probably have a few experiences of playing a venue that they knew in advance would have some criminally racist attendees. In my opinion this phenomenon is waaaaaayy rarer than it used to be – I can’t remember the last time I saw someone wearing a swastika at a show – but throughout the 80’s and 90’s it was par for the course that between 10-20% (shit, sometimes more) of the club-goers would be skinheads (although, and this is one of the tiny details that the film nails, not all skinheads are necessarily racist…oh yeah, and “red laces” are/were actually a thing). At any rate, while the earnest, kinda dorky, college-radio guy warned them in advance who they were playing for, he also kinda downplayed just how thoroughly white supremacist the venue was (“Just…play your old stuff” etc). Once they got there and realized what was what, they really didn’t have a choice but to play, get paid and get the hell out of there (I mean, they had no money, and by that point, no gas either). And you have to admit that it was HIGHLY baller of them to open with that song – it was pretty much the only act of protest they could do. I particularly liked that the film used their set to toy with your expectations: i.e., you think their music will be what gets them in trouble, when, in fact, they end up winning the crowd over in spite of themselves.

    -“Trapped in the room with them is Amber (Yelchin’s FRIGHT NIGHT co-star Imogen Poots) and she’s on their side because it was her friend that got stabbed to death. But she’s at this place on purpose. She wants out now, but that means at one point she wanted in, and that’s hard for me to overlook, especially when she gives a variation on the “a black guy did something to me one time so I take it out on his entire race and all non-white people” excuse.” Yes and No. Remember, she’s really there to help her friend escape from that scene – she arrived with the murder victim and you find out later that their car is all packed and ready to go…and their baggage includes evidence (the wrapped-up baseball bat) of the white supremacists previous crime. In fact, Patrick Stewart even remarks that the whole thing ended up being a blessing in disguise, otherwise “They could have destroyed us.” Yeah, she made the comment about “somebody who wasn’t white hurting me once” but I took that to be more of a “oh fuck you, you don’t even know why I’m here” remark. I mean, do you think they would have believed her if she had said “Actually, I was here to help my dead friend escape from this bullshit?” Poot’s character was the bomb imo.

    -“Although I liked the movie quite a bit, I did feel at the end like it was not quite climactic enough, I didn’t feel that “phew, they just made it” relief of, say, Sally in the back of the pickup truck in THE TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE…I think this is a consequence of an intentional artistic choice to not follow some of the usual storytelling conventions.” Totally. Of course, this is harder for me to argue…it’s the kinda thing you either find satisfying or not. Personally, I loved it and thought it was extremely effective as it was juxtaposed with the continuing cuts of the last attack dog approaching. FUCK, for me the tension was almost unbearable…when both of their guns go “click, click, click” as it walks by only to have the dog do the most unexpected thing…DAMN, it was actually kinda emotional for me (I recently lost a pet).

    -“Full disclosure, though: a fire alarm went off in the theater and I had to miss a couple minutes as the shit was hitting the fan. Also I saw it in a giant theater with the modest crowd all spread around. I’m sure an uninterrupted experience with a more compact audience would be ideal for the tension in this movie.” Man, that really, really sucks…like, I kinda feel you got robbed of what would have otherwise been (imo) a waaaaayyyy more satisfying experience for you. This Saulnier guy is the real deal…the fact that he used his post Blue Ruin momentum to make a film like this is a minor miracle.

    Full disclosure as well: I was unbelievably fucking lucky to have caught this the first time (I’ve seen it twice already) a couple of weeks ago with a sold-out crowd of a very unsuspecting kind (it was “sold out” because the tickets were all free…99% of the crowd were only there because it was, in fact, free. I.e., they weren’t the kind film freaks that would have otherwise sought out a film like this). Holy crap, I have never been with a more unnerved and completely on edge crowd…suffice it to say, it was practically a religious experience for me. You should definitely give this one another chance.

  2. Crap, I forgot to add one thing (FYI, also SPOILERISH):

    When the lead singer starts giving the paint ball pep-talk I started to get goosebumps BECAUSE THE EXACT SAME THING HAPPENED TO ME ABOUT 20 YEARS AGO I SWEAR TO GOD. I was visiting my family in Pennsylvania and me and five of my cousins drove to the Poconos to paintball at, like, the most famous challenging paintball course in the United States. You had to be bused from your car to the entrance and along the way all these Vietnam vets started seriously getting in our face, pumping themselves up screaming “We’re gonna fucking kill you” “You are so fucking dead” etc. We were, like, w-h-a-t-i-n-t-h-e-f-u-c-k are you guys talking about?!?!…it was SURREAL with a Capital S. And they all totally had these personal $1000+ weapons with them. Needless to say, they annihilated us so damn fast (hand signals, everything). The speech was so exactly like what I had experienced that I was not surprised to find out that Saulnier in a recent interview said that he took it straight from his own experience “playing paintball in the Poconos.” I bet you those guys still play.

  3. As a guy who literally has a mohawk, I can tell you the depictions in the movie are 100% accurate. In fact, I was lucky enough to see it with Jeremy Saulnier in attendance, and afterwords in a Q n’ A he confirmed that this is based upon his own life history (in fact, a few of the people from his former hardcore days were at the screening, so there were some authentic tattooed hardcore guys sitting there to judge any inaccuracy), and in particular he noted that the gig at the Mexican restaurant was a true story.

    (SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS ahoy from here on!)

    I like the depiction of the white supremacists here, actually, especially Stewart. They’re repellent assholes, but in a very recognizably human way. As bloodthirsty as they are, it’s in a very familiar macho sort of way, like soldiers going to war a little too excited about getting to prove themselves through violence. And with Patrick Stewart as a venerable father figure for them, it’s easy to egg them into murder even if some of them have some secret doubts. Saulnier said that according to Stewart, this is actually the quietest (in decibels) role in his entire career, and that makes sense: He’s very calm and collected and he seems so reasonable, even when you KNOW he’s full of shit and planning on murdering all of them. But he doesn’t play it as a scary sociopath, he plays it like in his mind HE’S the good guy here. At the end when he says “it’s been a long night for all of us,” I don’t think he’s trying to fuck with them, I think that’s how he feels, he’s like “shit, what now?” As much as I love a good bigfoot movie or something, it’s scarier to see these vicious monsters read so believably as normal humans with traits you can see everyday in your real life.

    I also really liked how the conflict starts: they come SO close to just walking out of their with their money, even after they play “Nazi Punks Fuck Off,” its just a tiny little detail (forgetting a cell phone) that ends up getting everyone killed. It contributes to the sense of this conflict being random and chaotic and not following the usual ebb and flow of this kind of film. I like it a lot, although I admit it doesn’t quite build to a climax (or, rather, it DOES build to a climax — getting out of the room– but then also has a unnecessarily extended denouement after that. But even there, you got lots of stuff to like — I love the long tease with the vicious dog on the loose, which wraps up in a rather surprising way.

    I agree it is weird we’re supposed to like Poot’s character, especially after they kind of unnecessarily have her half-explain her racism. But then again (SUPER SPOILERS) it also turns out, I think, that she was planning on leaving these guys with her friend and the mohawk guy’s cousin, so she’s obviously not a true believer anymore. I think maybe you can take it as an explanation of how she got here in the first place, not what she believes NOW. Hopefully. The one thing Saulnier said that confused me is that the part with the dog at the end is reflective of the movie’s theme of “learned hate,” which I’m not sure I exactly got. But if it’s learned, maybe it can be unlearned, so hopefully that’s what Poot’s character is in the process of doing. That might be a more generous reading than is warranted, but I think it’s at least an arguable one, so if that makes it easier to enjoy I’m willing to go for it.

  4. *I used the wrong form of the “their,” please disregard my opinions.

  5. I was sold the minute I found out it was a Siege movie. Something about Siege movies that gets me right in the special heart place.

  6. The Original Paul

    April 25th, 2016 at 4:30 pm

    Well this sounds awesome.

    *Checks for UK screenings.*

    Fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu…

  7. It’s unfortunatly that you had a bad screening. The crowd was really into it when I saw it. You could hear gasps at suprising turn of events.

    The screenplay is really good at setting things up and subverting the payoffs. The favorite album dialog bits are a good exemple of that. What’s more, the characters on both sides of the conflict are awesome. Apart for the psycho killer, there is not a stock character in the film. The gore effects are top notch as well.

    It’s one of the better artsy genre film of the last few years. And it’s pretty funny at more than one occasion. Highly recommended.

  8. Which one was the mohawk guy’s cousin? I thought it was Macon Blair at first but I think that’s wrong. Was it the badass guy who calls himself a traitor and says he knows where they keep the shotgun behind the bar?

  9. Now that you ask, I’m kinda/sorta/maybe pretty sure that mohawk’s cousin wasn’t seen again after his initial introduction. He most certainly wasn’t Macon Blair and it wasn’t the skinhead who was SPOILER, SPOILER, SPOILER, going to run off with the dead girl (the one who comes in 3/4th of the way through the flick). I’m also kinda remembering that there was an important mini-confrontation between mohawk’s cousin and one of the band members within second of their arrival at the venue…something along the lines of “Yeah, don’t bring *that* up to anyone here.”

    FYI: (and, again, SPOILER) not sure if you came away with the same perspective, but, I kinda got the feeling that that last shot at the very end of the flick of Mohawk vacuuming his apartment implied that Patrick Stewart’s minions had already been dispatched to kill him (there was that whole conversation where it comes to light that he was the last person to know where the band was headed…which Stewart clearly wasn’t happy with).

    Looks like I have to see it a third time.

  10. Grimgrinningchris

    April 25th, 2016 at 7:46 pm

    It took like an hour after reading this review for it to register with me why it’s called Green Room. And I run a fucking nightclub. Ha.

  11. I can’t remember the last time my heart pounded as hard as it did in this movie. As always I recommend folks don’t watch the trailer, b/c one of the best Fuck Yeah! moments woulda been spoiled. Be aware though: A couple violent moments had me swearing aloud. Pretty embarrassing when the seniors around you at the matinee show you they’re tougher.

    I agree that the movie kind of loses intensity by the end … perhaps the final line is an admission of that. Which is one of the reasons Blue Ruin is even better: That movie made sense to end with a sad sigh, while this one is more sensationalistic, so the intensity peaks when things are at their worst for the band well before the close. Plus, good to hear that the punk scene had authenticity – it felt it (as did the white power venue), and Saulnier is really good at dishing out enough detail to string along the uninitiated while never creating a Punk Touring for Dummies undertaste.

  12. George Sanderson

    April 26th, 2016 at 1:47 am

    I really love Blue Ruin so I’m definitely going to see this (which will mean eventually ordering it off Amazon as it probably won’t get a theatrical release in Hong Kong).

  13. I plan on seeing this on Thursday. Blue Ruin was a wonderfully put together revenge flick, and I have high hopes. Also, I love punk rock movies.

  14. Don-

    SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER

    The Mohawk Guy’s cousin is the guy with the dead girlfriend who calls himself a traitor. When the band heads to the gig, Mohawk guy says his cousin and girlfriend our coming to see him and that he needs to vacuum the floor. Hence, the shot of him vacuuming the floor at the end.

    Great film.

  15. Edit: “our coming” should be “are coming”

  16. Braypocalypse-

    Holy crap, you’re right…that makes it even more awesome/sad/poignant.
    Thank you!

    I can’t get this flick out of my head.

  17. SPOILER SPOILER SPOILERSPOILER SPOILER SPOILERSPOILER SPOILER SPOILER

    Yeah I’m also pretty sure the “traitor” is mohawk guy’s cousin. I think he introduces himself to them when they first pull up, and he’s real hostile to them. At first you think it’s because he’s white supremacist scum and doesn’t like these nerdy punks, but of course it’s actually because he’s planning to escape with his girlfriend (and maybe her friend Poots?) tonight and doesn’t want these guys rocking the boat and fucking things up for him.

    Braypocalypse- oh man, didn’t notice that line about why he was vacuuming. That does make it a bit more poignant, he probably even knows his cousin is planning to escape and he’s getting the place ready for them to crash while they figure out their new life. Not gonna happen now.

  18. I caught this in a multiplex “Scream Unseen” preview thingy here in the UK a week ago, so the theatre was full (and with a non-zero percentage of non-horror fans there because it was a cheap night out). And I loved it pretty much start to finish. The audience helped a little, but the film deserves all the credit. Everything felt very real—from the portrayal of the band and their life on the road, through the realistically abhorrent bad guys, and on to the depiction of violence and wounds. Not much more to say, really; I was gripped basically throughout the whole thing.

    Great soundtrack too. I left the screening humming Creedence, anxious to get home and hug my dog, and wanting to see this film again when it is released for realsies.

  19. The Original Paul

    April 26th, 2016 at 5:25 pm

    Sabalos – where was that, and do you know if there are any similar screenings in the UK anywhere? As far as I can gather from my local cinemas, this thing hasn’t even had a UK release yet (no plans either).

  20. I could wait for home video but I’ve also been waiting to see this cause they had me at “Picard is an evil skinhead”. That sounds interesting and Stewart doesn’t get to play enough villains even though he’s good at it. I think CONSPIRACY THEORY was the last time.

  21. Original Paul – it was at Odeon cinemas, last Wednesday. The one I saw was in the Metrocentre (near Newcastle), but I think they happen all over. They do a thing called “Screen Unseen”, where for a fiver you get a screening of an unreleased-in-the-UK film without knowing exactly what it is beforehand—they just won’t sell tickets to under-15s, and give you some cryptic clues if you want to try and figure out what it is in advance. (The clues are usually very janky, and bear only a tenuous relationship with the film even after you’ve seen it.)

    Screen Unseen is kind of intended as a venue for screening films they reckon will be critically acclaimed, rather than popular, if you get me—so critical darlings, rather than Marvel blockbusters or usually genre flicks. But Green Room was the first attempt at a sister to Screen Unseen called Scream Unseen, focusing on horror/thriller films. There’s a guy who is keeping track of all the films shown here (along with the clues for the next one) : letterboxd.com/mattevenson/list/odeon-screen-unseen/ , if you’re interested. I really enjoy it.

    Anyway I guess the short answer is no, I don’t know of any other screenings; all the Screen/Scream Unseen showings happen on the same day. It is definitely not out in the UK yet, though, which might be why you can’t find it; last Wednesday was apparently 23 days before release, which I think makes its date Friday the 13th. I’ve had trailers for it (again in Odeon) before other films, so I’d be surprised if it didn’t turn up on general release at some point.

  22. I think it’s out in the UK mid-May for the people wondering, cineworld are definitely carrying it. I saw it yesterday at a preview screening, liked it a lot. The dog is up there with black phillip in terms of animal performances this year. The little guy knocks it out of the park.

    I thought the ending was appropriate, personally. Darcy was a quiet guy – low key and intense, and I think his death reflected that. Certainly low-key, but still intense. I think it fed in to how the events of the whole film was a blip, because of a lost phone, rather than anything too OTT.

  23. The Original Paul

    April 28th, 2016 at 9:05 am

    Sabalos and Steven – thanks very much! That makes sense. I’ll look out for it in the next month or so.

  24. The Original Paul

    April 28th, 2016 at 9:13 am

    And sadly I’m pretty much as far away from Newcastle as it’s possible to be and still be in the UK (well technically I could go across to Cornwall, but other than that, yep) so that’s not an option for me. I have an Odeon nearby, but I don’t think they do anything like that; and considering I put the local Odoen at the top of my “worst film experiences of 2015” list, I’m not in any hurry to go back. It sounds like it’ll come here at some point though.

  25. I just got back from this, and it was just about everything I wanted out of the film. The director piled on the tension, and you never knew who would die when. I also hung out with a lot of punk kids in high school and college and so many characters reminded me of people I knew. The only thing that seemed off was the mohawk kid also having a zine. Do people still publish zines now that the internet is ubiquitous?

  26. It seems podcasts kind of took the place of zines but they still pop up from time to time.

    Having known a few racist skinheads in high school, many of them have pretty weak reasoning for their racism. So the girl that said she doesn’t like non-whites because other races had given her a hard time in the past, as weak as that reason is, is quite accurate.

    There was a point in my senior year when it seemed that EVERYONE (including an asian, two black guys, and a latino) became skinheads. It didn’t make sense to me, especially considering how inclusive they were. I later came to the conclusion that they were looking for some sense of community and brotherhood. I understand (even then) how stupid this sounds but that’s what it was. Thankfully most of them eventually found weed and all that just became a black mark in their past that none of them like to talk about.

    As for the few that maintained their racism, they’re either dead or in jail. I think one guy is doing well, but he’s a dick and no one really likes talking to him.

    As for the movie: The scene at the beginning where they played Nazi Punks Fuck Off (which in any other movie would have started a riot) was EXTREMELY realistic. It’s rare that a crowd, of skinheads even, would charge the stage. You might take shit after the show but honestly most of them are much more cowardly than they like to present themselves as.

  27. Damn this was good.
    SPOILERS
    I’m not sure where the criticism of the ending is coming from; Yelchin and Poots, baptized by fire, bring the fight to the skinheads and execute those motherfuckers. Seeing Patrick Stewart’s bald dome spray blood was surprisingly hilarious.
    I didn’t catch the Poots racist line, but if it was there it didn’t really affect the movie in any way.
    I have a question; what was going on with that second-to-last scene, with the passed-out heroin guy and his friend watching cartoons? Is that supposed to indicate that the Macon Blair character stumbled on some drug den and was not going to call the cops (or survive)?
    Yelchin’s arm injury was an all-time gross-fest. I kind of doubt he’d be able to function as well as he did the rest of the movie, but I’m willing to overlook it.
    Box-cutter should have gotten third billing in this movie.

    Anyway, Saulnier is two-for-two with this and Blue Ruin. I hope someone gives him some real money for his next feature. There was only one other guy in the theater with me today, but it was Friday at 1 pm, so I guess I shouldn’t expect a packed house. But I hope this is at least a modest success.

    PS remind me not to get mauled by dogs.

  28. SPOILERS

    Haaaans – I think the passed out heroin guy and his friend were Worm and some other member of the bar’s house band? When they bundled them off into a car earlier they gave them a little something to go get high with. And then nearer the end Patrick Stewart mentions that they might have to do something about Worm and the rest of Cowcatcher, because they’re getting out of control/too deep into ‘that nigger junk’ or whatever charming phrase he used. I took their appearance in the montage to mean that Captain Picard had given them a hot shot, or else they had overdosed all by themselves, and we could rest assured they wouldn’t be coming back to get our heroes.

  29. What Sabalos said. Picard killed them with tainted heroin (although, if memory serves, the murderer’s band-mate is definitely dead but as the camera pans to the left we see the murderer still (kinda shaking, but very intense and very much still alive) eating ice cream or cereal while watching tv…it kinda left me with the impression that this dude’s hate might actually inoculate him against the tainted heroin and that he will very likely kill again.

    Seeing it a third time tomorrow.

  30. HAAAAAAAANS if you liked this and Blue Ruin you might want to get acquainted with Murder Party. It doesn’t have the same tone as Saulnier’s last two but it definitely showcases his humor.

    If Tarantino did a Troma movie, I suspect it would look similar to Murder Party.

  31. Just saw it and thought it was pretty good. I wondered about the authenticity of the punk scene. I thought it felt like it would be very authentic, but since I’m the least likely person to have any experience in that, it’s good to hear that it was accurate.

    *SPOILERS* That’s funny that so many of you were feeling tension about the dog coming along. I had pretty much none. I thought maybe they’d go there, but it seemed like the dog needed to be told to attack before it would do so, which is pretty common in dog training, but it’s not like I’m an expert.

    I can see what you mean, Vern, about the end being anticlimactic, but I think that was probably his point. I think it was a microcosm of a life of violence. At first it’s confusing and doesn’t seem real. Then it becomes terrifying and horrifying. Then once embraced it becomes insane and animalistic. It finally ends in banality and exhaustion. I was just happy there were some survivors, because there was a point where I believed it could end with everyone dead.

  32. I forgot a couple of things I really liked that were just little details that made it feel authentic about a bunch of people who are in no way prepared to be in an insane, violent situation. Still *SPOILERS* I loved that the most effective weapon they had, even after getting guns and knives, was the fire extinguisher. Eventually they did get better with the guns. I also loved when he was down in the basement with the guy and she was up above and he yelled her name, she said what and he said never mind. No clue about what he was thinking or what he was going to say. It was great to see that he was still rattled and freaked out.

  33. Finally saw it and I don’t think I love it as much as the Internet does but that’s no knock against this one as it was still pretty good. This is also, I think, the first movie I saw where Patrick Stewart played a bad guy and they didn’t drop the ball. Liked how it could possibly be interpretted that he doesn’t believe in any movement and is just some asshole shilling drugs to kids. That may be too much thinking on my part though, regardless Stewart was real good in this one. I also appreciate the dog training guy and he seemed generally care about this dogs and hated injecting him and putting them in harm’s way. I love it when movies do that.

    I will definitely at least check out Blue Ruin.

  34. This was dope. Pretty unremitting in tension and some truly horrific gore. I don’t get the argument that because the Poots character is dabbling a little bit in this skinhead stuff at a young age–still searching for identity, meaning, community, social support, and maybe she’s had bad experiences that have led her to stereotype–that we should feel guilty or ambivalent about liking her. We can like all kinds of flawed people even if we don’t condone their flaws.

    This makes me miss Anton Yelchin. There’s a gentle, dignified, alien, nerdy toughness about him. RIP, bro.

    I loved the ending and the way it defies convention. There’s something poetic and special with the dog, which is maybe a metaphor for the skinheads who bred him. Like the skinheads, he acts out of loyalty to his group and the ideology that has been given to him. He does what he’s told, just like the other red lacers. And yet he has feelings and affection for his master. He’s been arbitrarily conditioned or brainwashed into viewing some people as safe and others as threats. In the course of a single 30 minute span, we can experience these dogs as horrific killing machines or your bud who rests his chin on you. Powerful stuff there.

    This is some good stuff.

  35. I really liked this movie. Even though its an indie hit, I was surprised how good at was.

    I liked Poots’ character the most. You could sympathise with her, and get on board with her “wrong side of the tracks” thing…but it never let’s you forget she seemed much more comfortable with violence that the band kids, even seeming to enjoy slitting the big good ‘ole boys stomach.

    Not bad for an actress whose name always makes me laugh cause its a girly fart!

    I do think the whole back story of the murder they walked in on and all assorted characters to do with it was unnecessarily confusing. I’m all for weird cryptic stuff in movies, but this wasn’t quite the right kind of movie. Maybe they were using too much punk\nazi lingo, or maybe I just missed it, but I actually had to look up what the fuck happened.

    I was into the punk/metal/hardcore thing in college. This rung pretty true. The nerdy guy with the Mohawk who gets them the gig in particular. Real punks aren’t so much much like ROAD WARRIOR rejects as much as kind of dorky dudes like that. And I do remember some of the venues being just off. Not proper clubs, more somebody’s basement and its 5 bucks for a night of bands you never heard of. My friend’s band once played at a mission/homeless shelter and I remember the room being divided religious types/actual bums on one side, punks and other onlookers on the other. The two groups did not interact, not even a glance.

    So it always draws a weird element. Some artsey fartsey nerds (like that mohawk kid in this), some drunk boneheads just looking for a fight. All taking it way too seriously. That weird racist element would pop up from time to time. I encountered it a couple times, always on the fringe of the bigger shows. Skinheads with swastikas and whatnot. Only 2 or 3 per show, not the whole deal like this movie. But enough to know they were lurking in the fringe. I never knew what to make of it, and actually kind of thought it was some sort of put on to tell you the truth. I obviously never asked! None of the stuff I went to was skinhead oriented as far as I know, so I think they just go to kick thevshit out of somebody in the mosh pit, but usually just got drunk.

    Anyway, I never got too far into that scene. Gave it a year or two sort of half assed. Never could get into the weird organised rebellion (you have to wear this kind of jacket! And only like these kind of bands!!!), which always sort of defeated the point to me. Wasn’t quite the anarchy its supposed to stand for, and came across as more conformist than the cheerleaders and yuppie types I thought it was supposed to be mocking.

    Still dig some of the bands though, especially the ones with a sense of humor. Dead Kennedy’s are a good one!

    Anyway, this is a really great thriller. Nail biting, gut wrenching and pretty unpredictable, especially who gets killed and in what order. If you haven’t seen it yet…do so! Its pretty cool!

  36. Oh, one thing I forgot to mention: this whole movie seems like the scene from THE BLUES BROTHERS where they play the country/western bar gone horribly, horribly wrong.

  37. I think it’s weird to penalize Poots’ character because she may be racist (no specific evidence shown that she is, she may just be with the bad kids and not really believe it) but give a pass to murderers in movies. Racism is worse than killing people? I agree it’s bad, but I’d rather a guy not like me because of skin color than kill me off.

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