Groupthink doesn't live here, critical thought does.
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Using an outdated hardcore punk trope, whereby a [obviously] white hardcore band “Ain’t Rights,” (with a badass Jewish girl member played by Alia Shawkat) in their mid-20s, play an ill-fated gig at a remote neo-Nazi bar staffed with skinheads. The band plays a set that necessarily includes a horrible version of The Dead Kennedy’s “Nazi Punks Fuck Off” (it would been much hotter if the band were made up of a Muslim, a Black, a White a Jew, a Latina, and a transgendered character). That would have made for ultimate exploitation explosion.
But I digress. Senior members wear red laces in their hi-rise boots. Patrick Stewart is chilling as Darcy, the racist group’s cold-blooded leader.
The biggest problem with writer/director Jeremy Saulnier’s is redundancy over resonance. By not bothering to include any characters of color, the film suffers from redundancies where resonance should be.
I have to bust the movie on one key plot point. Spoiler alert. Look away, or keep reading. The band’s bass player Pat (Anton Yelchin) gets his hand cut — badly cut, but in ancient horror-movie fashion, he carries on with little trouble. I say, in modern day cinema, if you’re going to maim a character, let’s see how a person would behave authentically, under those conditions.
“Green Room” is harrowing, but it lacks humor. Fans of extreme violence and gore will be sated. The picture fails to editorialize (cinematically or allegorically) on white racism. I recommend David Wnendy’s great film “Combat Girls,” about a 20-year-old racist German girl. The movie is every bit as distressing as “Green Room,” but has something authentic to say thematically.
Rated R. 94 mins.