First, a moment of silence in respect for A24. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Thank you.
A24, if you didn’t know is an American independent movie company that focuses on film production, and distribution. They are also the movie house behind such greats as The Killing of a Sacred Deer, Locke, The Lobster, Into the Forest (which I am reviewing currently), It Comes at Night, A Ghost Story, Free Fire, The Florida Project, Hereditary, First Reformed, I literally could go on and on, there are just so many. And today, I have another one for you. Literally wondered into it 100% accidentally, The Green Room. Thank you A24. (And yes, you are correct if you think I am trying to ingratiate myself with them. 100% correct actually.)
This movie is not… I repeat, NOT for the faint of heart. But oh please let me tell you how a Star Wars loving, Star Trek hating, geek fell head over feels in love with Jean-Luc Picard like I never thought I could. Seriously. I man-crushed on Patrick Stewart in this role. It was a thing to behold. Anyway, the story centers on a band trying to find a gig to get them by, and close out their tour after their last one goes belly up. So they agree to a gig out at a right wing, Neo-Nazi, skin head, hole. But when they see something they shouldn’t have, it becomes a stand off to end all stand offs. Do NOT watch this trailer. Open that tab —-> right over there. Open Netflix to this link, and hit play. Trust me, its a nitrous ride to end all movie launches. It’s full tilt.
First though, I have to say, that I think a pile of people will want help to understand what it is exactly that is going on in this movie. Sure, it’s generally simple. We have a band, that saw something they shouldn’t have. And we have the skin-heads, and they did something they didn’t want seen. But the rest of it? Woah. So, yeah, we may want to really walk this one through from front to back in order to really grasp what the heck is going on here.
So from here on out, spoilers galore. (Would you say, I have a plethora of spoilers?! Yes, El Guapo, I would say you have a plethora of spoilers. Do you know what a plethora is?!? Wow, am I digressing… )
Let’s Talk About Green Room
I’m going to start this discussion a little upside down. I want to start, by talking about something that will be critical at the end. And that is, four individual people, and their relationships to each other. Ok? So let’s talk characters.
Tad – The radio interviewer who started the movie off and, as a result, basically ended the band’s tour.
Werm – Neo Nazi, red lace member. Werm happens to think that he is dating Emily.
Daniel – Tad’s cousin. Daniel is secretly dating Emily. And they are planning to run away together.
Emily – The woman in question – who barely makes it to minute fifteen in the film, before she is stabbed in the forehead with a knife by Werm.
Alright. Got it? These are the prime movers of the conflict of this story. There are others that we will get to as we go. But generally speaking? These are the ones that I found most confusing and didn’t grasp as the movie was playing for me. Why? Because it isn’t clear who Daniel is or why he matters. And ultimately, no one knows about Daniel because he is trying to lay low and not get caught leaving with Emily by this murderous group.
Let’s Walk Through the Green Room
The band in question is the Ain’t Rights. Basically a high-horse, punk band that generally runs the college circuit from what I can tell. Their singer goes by the name Tiger, and is played by Callum Turner. The bassist is Pat (played by Anton Yelchin – of Star Search, or Star Journey… or some Star Wars knock off show I can’t remember). The band’s guitarist’s name is Sam (played by Alia Shawkat – known for her time on Arrested Development and the movie Whip It.) And then there is the band’s drummer, Reece (played by Joe Cole of the epic show Peaky Blinders, which you have to watch).
So, we meet up with the Ain’t Rights, crashed in a cornfield. The rest of their day should only go so well. And from there they head to play at a venue wherein they make six dollars a person. It’s a bust. And just like that, they are considering ending their tour. But Tad, decides to throw them a “bone” and sends them over to his nephew’s favorite hangout. Only glitch? It’s a bit of Neo-Nazi dive. But hey, they are siphoning gas out of cars on their way, so anything is better than being broke, no? So they decide to play it. And they kick the gig off with? A cover of the Dead Kennedy’s “Nazi Punks F-k Off” which made me laugh out loud.
Anyway, after playing the “show” they head back to the green room, and find all their stuff out in the hallway. Regardless, they head out, but when they forget something, they stumble upon Amber – (played by Imogen Poots, Knight of Cups, and 28 Weeks Later), and a dead Emily, and are quickly sequestered in the green room while the skin-heads decide how to keep the band from telling anyone about what they saw. The two sides stand off as they both try to figure out what to do next. And when Darcy (played by Patrick Stewart, who played Darth Vader, or something like that), the owner of the club – and the leader of the Neo-Nazis, becomes involved, he is resolved to kill everyone involved and to stage their demise elsewhere. But the band overpowers Big Justin and hold him hostage for a while utilizing his gun and his box cutter.
Regardless, all that to say, the band and Amber have got to figure out how to survive this situation. But the situation looks desperate. Why? Well, when the band was able to call out to the cops telling them that someone had been stabbed, the Nazis are so hardcore that they stab one of their own, and wheel them off to the hospital to convince the police that the situation had been taken care of. These are the kind of people that Darcy is organizing here. A full-on insanity apocalypse. At one point, the group tries to just make a move and run for it, but dogs kill Tiger, and Reece is hacked to pieces when he tries to go out a window. Eventually the survivors are whittled down to three – Amber, Pat, and Sam – they wonder what they could possibly do to get out of this situation. When Darcy sends Daniel into the club to kill the remaining three, Darcy lies, and tells Daniel that it was the band that killed Emily. But it’s Amber who tells Daniel that that wasn’t what happened. Emily was leaving of course, with Daniel, and it was Werm that was incensed at the idea of her leaving. Well, now that Darcy knows Daniel was in on Emily’s decision to leave, Daniel decides to lean in and help. But almost immediately he’s shot dead by the bartender. The band then kills the bartender, getting his shotgun, but Sam is killed by the dog.
As their odds (and numbers) are all but completely dwindled, it’s Amber that steps up and owns this situation like a boss. She definitely becomes the hero of this tragically messed up situation. So there is Amber and Pat – the two final survivors. And Amber asks to hear the end of his paintball pep talk he had started earlier in the evening. Pat basically says that although they were playing against real military members, his teammate makes a random run at their opponents. Screaming and yelling as he went, all the way until the end, and everyone had been shot. And it’s with this idea that Amber and Pat decide to make a plan. Amber hides in the couch, and Pat jumps into the hole they’ve made down into the drug lab they discovered earlier in the movie. With that setup, and the knowledge that they guys coming for them only have three bullets in their shotgun, they systematically dismantle these two guys. Literally.
As they are leaving the building, they run into Gabe, the second in command under Darcy for the club. And they take him hostage. And as they head out, they choose to make him promise to go to the police, and then they let him go. And as the couple head out of through the woods, they come upon Darcy, and two other guys, staging a different crime entirely than what actually happened. After Amber and Pat get the jump on them, Pat realizes what is going on, and says, “They are making it our fault” and Amber responds with, “You were trespassing.” So instead, the story was supposedly, that they didn’t play the club that night, they came onto the property to steal gas, and then there was a shoot out that went poorly and they died. But that didn’t happen, they got the jump on them, killed them, and then sat down to wait for the cops that Gabe said he would call for.
But Wait What?
After I watched this film, I called one of my buddies (hey HEY Tony!!) and said, dude, you have got to watch this film. Oh, and by the way, tell me what you think of it when you are done. And when he was done, we immediately began deconstructing it. Because there were so many questions left on the table when we were done. And as we talked, and talked, and talked, I downloaded the script I was so confused still.
For example, what was with the baseball bat in Emily’s trunk? What was the big deal with the setlist that they found? Why were the “red-laces” so important? What was that lab that they found underneath the Green Room? Why did Werm kill Emily initially? How did Darcy really think he was going to get away with killing them all? But more importantly, who is Daniel, and why was he so important to the events that happened that night? And as I read the script, and talked with Tony, and read the script, I slowly came to a working knowledge of what was going on. Some of which I listed above in the movie overview. But in order to make sure it’s clear, I’ll quickly walk through what I think happened at the key junctures of the movie.
At the start of the movie, the Ain’t Rights, met a guy named Tad, who was Daniel’s cousin. Tad told them not to mention anything about Daniel and Emily when they arrived to play the gig. Still they sort of mention it. That all really didn’t matter to the band though, because they were just playing a couple of songs and then leaving. No big deal.
But, Werm, who was dating Emily was pissed that she thought she could leave, and he was using the set list as the go signal for killing Emily. Right? But Werm didn’t know Emily was leaving with Daniel. So when Daniel found out what actually happened he had to help them in order to get out alive himself. And the main thing that Darcy was looking for was the keys to the van. Once he had the keys, he could move it off the property and take most of the bodies with him. There could be no bullets in the bodies, because the bone marks would show that they’d been killed by shooting, not by fire. So once all but one band member was dead, he took the bodies, the van, and made it look like Pat had flipped out on the band, and killed everyone by lighting the van on fire. Make sense?
Final Thoughts on Green Room
I absolutely adore movies like this. Tight little movies with all kinds of motivators and hidden drivers that aren’t explicitly spelled out for the audience to figure out. Sure, you don’t have to understand them all to understand the movie, but it’s there to figure out if you want to. Free Fire is another closed box movie in this same space that you might find interesting. I found the final act a little unbelievable, but after such an ingenious 2 thirds, I gave the movie’s finale some slack. Just seemed infinitely trite in comparison. But really, that was a very very small complaint really. I really enjoyed this rocket of a ride. All of it. Patrick Stewart. Anton Yelchin. Especially Imogen Poots. The screenplay and these two multifaceted, and complex underground worlds I know nothing about. It was so very good. I just can’t say enough about it.
But did I get what happened right? Is that what was going on?
Edited by, CY
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