[Before we get underway, please note that the pose the machete carrying bloke on the poster strikes is (possibly) a hommage to The Clash’s “London Calling” album cover, with bassist Paul Simonon smashing a guitar.]
0:01:11 Tiger (Callum Turner) awakes at the steering wheel to find he’s crashed his band’s van in a cornfield. The band’s name is the Ain’t Rights, which seems appropriate judging by their driving.
0:01:54 Two of the other bandmates are Sam (Alia Shawkat) and the tragically departed Anton Yelchin, who portrays Pat. They ride to a nearby skating rink to steal petrol for their van, which was left running all night. I’m not sure if this will pay off, as skating has never given me gas.
0:02:48 The loss of Anton Yelchin is all the more tragic in that he was a beautiful man and a beautiful talent and young enough to have graced us with both these gifts for many years to come.
0:04:34 The band crashes (and not in the van, this time) at a fan’s apartment (David W. Thompson as Tad).
[N.B. The song they begin on the turntable before falling asleep is Fear‘s “Legalize It”. It’s not on the official soundtrack, but it is on my playlist at the bottom of this synopsis.]
[This shot epitomises Green Room’s true punk nature. As an outsider, it’s my understanding that ‘punk’ is more about being true to yourself than following a specific trend. When the band meets Tad, Reece wonders aloud if he’s a poseur because he sports a mohawk. Tiger, however, declares Tad to be ‘legit’ when he sees the proudly displayed pictures of cats. Tad is not afraid to risk ridicule to be true to his nature, thus he receives Tiger’s punk validation. (Credit to a Reddit user who commented this in the site’s official Green Room discussion.)]
0:06:22 Later, Tad interviews the band in his flat for a radio show.
Pat: The energy can’t last.
Sam: Unless you’re Iggy Pop.
Pat: Yeah, well, good for him but I don’t think I wanna be in my 70s still listening to Minor Threat.
Reece (Joe Cole): But Tiger does.
Tiger: I won’t live to be in my 70s, so…
Spoiler alert, Tiger: you won’t live to be in your weekend.
0:06:34 Tad asks the members to name their “desert island band”.
Sam: Poison Idea.
Pat cannot come up with one, which is eerie now, somehow.
0:07:46 Tad informs the Ain’t Rights that the gig he’d lined up for them has fallen through, so they will now play a Mexican Denny’s. (¿ Dennito’s ?)
[N.B. The song they perform here, “What Have I Become”, is a Human Brains cover. I can find no audio of it online.]
0:09:08 To make up for this, Tad arranges for the group to perform at a bar his cousin frequents. It will soon be a favourite haunt for many of them.
Tiger: I say we just gank his vinyl. [gank = steal]
[Tad arrives at the van window]
Tad: All right, so, all set. Matinee tomorrow, doors at 1 p.m., you guys are on at 3 p.m.. I texted the addy. [addy = address]
Sam: How much?
Tad: $350, minus your tab. And, um, just so you know, it’s mostly boots and braces down there. [boots & braces = doc martens and suspenders (“braces” in the U.K.), which is the uniform of punk rock skinheads]
Tiger: Skins? There’s some at every show.
Tad: Uh, right wing, or technically ultra left, but not affiliated.
Pat: And your cousin’s cool?
Tad: Yeah, don’t talk politics but stick with Daniel.
0:11:50 [The music playing in the van as they approach the club is “Suffer the Children”, by Napalm Death. See soundtrack below.]
0:12:37 The group arrive at the car park of the “club” (and I mean that in the caveman sense, nearly). Tiger talks to cousin Daniel (Mark Webber).
Daniel: You guys look hammered.
Tiger: One night at Tad’s will do that to you. And if your girl’s gonna be crashing– [at one point Tad mentioned that Daniel and his girlfriend would be visiting Tad’s in the near future]
Daniel [taking Tiger by the throat]: Don’t mention that.
Tiger: OK, I was just mentioning–
Daniel: Yeah, no worries whatsoever. Just shut the fuck up about him and me and her.
Daniel wanted to strike up more than a conversation.
0:13:14 [The song playing as they enter the club with their gear is “Prowling Leather”, by Midnight. See soundtrack below.]
0:14:32 The Ain’t Rights go along with Pat’s idea to kick off their set with “Nazi Punks, Fuck Off”, a Dead Kennedys cover. It’s a love song, if you love being not racist.
0:15:08 During this song, a brunette in the crowd (Taylor Tunes as Emily) engages in some sort of commerce with Daniel. It seems to be a drug deal, but how would I know?
0:15:38 I’m reminded Alia Shawkat portrayed a bassist as well in The Runaways.
0:17:21 As they’re leaving the bar, Pat returns to the green room (a room in which performers wait before going on stage) to retrieve Sam’s mobile. Upon entering, he finds Emily [the brunette from 15:08] holding a knife…with her skull.
[Macon Blair is a childhood friend of director Jeremy Saulnier’s and has appeared in each of his his three feature films: Murder Party, Blue Ruin, and Green Room. He is also credited as co-producer for Green Room.]
0:18:21 [The song playing while the group waits is possibly Obituary‘s, “Paralyzed with Fear”. See soundtrack below.]
0:19:40 Gabe leads everyone back into the green room which is occupied by Cowcatcher [the headlining band for the bar and also a large iron, grate on the front of steam trains] and friends, including the stylistically challenged Amber [Imogen Poots, whom we also saw in the quite terrible Need for Speed]. Gabe takes a call from 911 about the stabbing and tells everyone the police are coming. The only one holding their breath on this is the dead girl.
0:22:26 The back of Patrick Stewart’s head arrives at the same time as the police (he plays the club owner and top Nazi, Darcy). Gabe and the club’s resident killer-dog wrangler / accountant (Kai Lennox as Clark) pay off twin bothers to recreate the crime. One twin holds the knife and the other gets the point. This way, the police have a stabbing and don’t need to look any deeper.
0:23:38 Gabe arrives to release Cowcatcher from the green room. On the way out, the lead singer (Brent Werzner as Werm) tells Pat he liked their set and offed Emily to their song “Toxic Evolution”. It’s a killer song.
0:26:47 After speaking to Darcy, Gabe arrives at the green room and tells Big Justin to give the group his gun, without the bullets. This because the plan is to make it look as though the group was mauled by dogs while siphoning petrol. Bullet wounds would poke holes in this scenario.
[N.B. Darcy orders, through the door, Big Justin to give up his gun to the group because he intends to let them leave. This is just one of several surprise moves that pleasantly surprised me in Green Room (another example being the moment Gabe answered 911 and told them there’d been a stabbing when they called to follow up on Pat’s initial call).]
0:28:31 With Darcy and the other neo-Nazis locked out of the green room, the group (with Amber) jump Big Justin and steal the bullets back for the gun. Hostage situations often end with a bang.
0:28:34 [In the corridor, the song Darcy hears coming from the stage is “Corpus Rottus” by Corpus Rottus. See soundtrack below.]
0:30:38 The song playing while Clark tells Darcy the price of the dogs in the case one one should die is “Mutilation” by Corpus Rottus.
Clark: It’s 1,200 [dollars] for a prospect, 2 for a bait dog. No studs, no champs unless you wanna pay 20 grand a head.
Those bitches are expensive!
0:34:20 The lights go out in the green room, making it a dark room.
0:36:28 The lights come back on but Darcy sends the concert audience home, claiming electrical problems. The drinks are like the faulty electricity: No charge.
0:36:33 The skinheads with the red laces are the hardcore nuts. They wear red laces because they’re tightly wound. #OrSomething
0:37:11 Darcy sends Cowcatcher to a safe house with his dope bearing an afro-American gang’s stamp on it. The idea is for them to lay low until the trouble blows over. With that amount of dope, they’ll be laying pretty damn low.
0:42:21 Negotiating from the opposite side of the green room door, Darcy tells the group he’ll let them go if they give up the unregistered firearm they took from Justin. The group agree, but not before securing their collateral in a wrestling hold before the exchange.
0:43:50 During the hand-off through the slightly ajar door, a red-laced punk grabs Pat’s arm and slices it to ribbons before he can pull it safely back into the room. In the meantime, Reece, holding Justin in the wrestling hold, breaks the bigger man’s arm. This scene should be known as “Farewell to Arms”.
0:45:32 While Reece chokes Justin to death, Sam asks how long it will take to be sure he’s really dead. Amber cuts that question short with a cutter.
0:48:12 Tiger and Reece break through the floorboards to reach an underground lab. Unfortunately, the only exit is a metal trap door in the ceiling and it’s locked from the outside. The Nazis use the lab to make heroin: even their drugs are white.
0:51:38 The group decide to make a break for it, but before they do, a moment of truth.
Sam: All right, fuck it. Simon and Garfunkel… Desert island band.
Pat: I, uh…
Tiger: I’m still the Misfits.
Reece: True school, man.
[See my earlier note at 4:34 about punk rockers being themselves rather than sheeple.]
0:53:16 The group leave the green room, surprised to find the bar empty and dark. Immediately after they decide to split up and look for an exit, the pit bulls are released into the bar. One of the dogs tears out Tiger’s throat. He’d rather the cat had his tongue.
0:53:38 Reece crawls through a window, only to be knocked unconscious by a skinhead waiting on the other side. This reminds me of their heroin: a lot of smack.
0:54:58 While Amber fights off one of the dogs with a microphone stand, Pat realises the beasts don’t like the screech of feedback even more than they dislike being bashed about the head by a microphone stand.
0:55:38 Sam, Amber and Pat retreat back to the green room. Each of them has a drawback. Pat has his cut arm, Amber has her chew toy ankle and Sam has to look at Amber’s haircut.
0:55:46 At 0:32:48, Pat found a tissue with the words “Fleisch Wolf” scrawled on it in Emily’s pocket. Now, seeing the same words on Cowcatcher’s set list, Amber tells them it’s a song whose translation is “meat grinder”. It probably sounds like one, as well.
0:56:27 Daniel volunteers to go in and kill everyone. He’s paired with a chap called Jonathan, though not romantically. Sadly, there’s a great shortage of openly gay Nazi skinheads.
0:58:12 After Daniel and Jonathan break into the green room, Amber tells Jonathan what happened.
Werm found out she was leaving, but she didn’t say that it was with you [Daniel]. “Meat Grinder”. That song was their cue.
We finally know what happened! 🙌
- The reason Daniel was so concerned about people knowing he and his girlfriend were staying at Tad’s [12:37], was that his girlfriend was leaving her boyfriend — i.e. Werm — for Daniel
- Daniel gave Emily a note with the words “Fleisch Wolf” on it [15:38], because when Cowcatcher performed that song, she was meant to find Daniel and leave
- Somehow, Werm discovered Emily was leaving, and stabbed her during the Ain’t Rights’ set
0:59:18 In the boot of Daniel’s motorcar, Darcy finds a bat that has seen too much excitement for baseball. In fact, it’s material evidence Daniel and Emily were going to abscond with, either to use as blackmail so no one would follow them, or as proof to put someone (Werm?) away for a long time.
1:00:58 Everyone descends into the drug cellar, where Sam is introduced to Daniel.
Sam: Who’s he?
Daniel: A traitor. If they don’t already know, they know now.
They certainly know more than your grammar teacher [“didn’t know before”].
It is still blades and fangs for the visitors, but we are getting lean on time. Now, if you have to shoot, shoot once. If more than once, keep it a tight grouping, ‘cause you’ll be digging the slugs out yourself.
Darcy gives these instructions to the red laces because they’re going to mask the murder of the band as a dog attack. Canine bullet wounds would give one paws…
1:01:58 While Daniel is retrieving a shotgun hidden behind the bar, something bigger than a thought crosses his mind.
1:02:24 Pat finishes off the shooter with a machete. Time to cut and run.
1:03:18 The trio make a break for it but Amber is shot in the leg and Sam is devoured by a pit bull. We should call her Purina now because she’s dog chow.
1:05:34 Amber and Pat retreat back to the green room and Pat finishes his boring story about how he went kamikaze in a game of paint ball. This story plays a critical role in putting the film over 90 minutes.
1:08:34 Darcy gives Gabe his red laces and tells the bar manager to find a new house band.
Gabe: You think Cowcatcher is gonna talk?
Darcy: I’m more worried about their habits. Really have to stay away from that n*gger dope. There’s a bad batch doing the rounds.
Darcy here is confessing to tricking Cowcatcher into killing themselves with the tainted heroin he provided them [37:11]. Darcy shouldn’t play poker because he’s a terrible dealer.
1:10:34 Jonathan and a chap called Kyle (Mason Knight) enter the bar with three shot gun shells and the dog Sam wounded before it ate her.
1:11:06 The dog runs away because there’s more feedback. Note to self: pit bulls probably don’t like Jimi Hendrix.
1:12:28 Jonathan drops down the hole in the floor after Pat, whom he did not shoot upon entering the green room, but instead let escape into the lab. I’m calling WTF.
1:12:32 Amber slits Kyle’s throat with a box cutter, turning the knife into a voice box cutter.
1:15:48 While Pat and Jonathan wrestle for the rifle, Amber slips down one hole and puts two in Jonathan.
1:17:36 Amber and Pat lead a repentant Gabe out of the bar at gunpoint while the sun rises. Day isn’t the only thing that breaks in this film.
1:19:38 They let Gabe go, and he promises to call the police when he gets where he’s going. Amber and Pat decide to confront the remaining Nazis at the residence because it’s too early for either the violence or the film to end here.
1:23:07 In the car park at the residence, Amber shoots Clark with the shotgun.
Pat: So we’re doin’ that?
Amber: Why else would we walk up here?
Pat: I don’t know, I was gonna ruin the crime scene.
Amber: I thought we’d leave a new one.
1:24:44 Amber and Pat shoot Darcy and Alan (Colton Ruscheinsky), the last red lace still standing. They’re deader than an Apple Watch battery.
1:25:32 Gabe finds farmers at the side of a nearby road and tells them to call the police. The suspense regarding his promise to call the police was as well-developed as a porn actress after surgery.
1:25:42 [see 1:08:34]
1:26:26 The pit bull that ran from the bar [1:11:06] arrives at the residence. Instead of attacking Pat and Amber, he sits beside Clark’s corpse. He’s a dog, but he’s also a red herring.
Pat: I know what it is.
Amber: What what is?
Pat: My desert island band.
Amber: Tell somebody who gives a shit.
“Sinister Purpose”, by Credence Clearwater Revival plays, leading us to believe this was Pat’s desert island group. [See playlist]
1:31:08 [“Right Brigade”, by Bad Brains See playlist]
The film is dedicated to the Barnetti Clan
The “Barnetti Clan” refers to the film collective to which a younger director Jeremy Saulnier belonged and used for inspiration.
…I looked backwards to my past, my punk rock roots. The bandmates with whom I hung out were also the people I made movies with at a young age. It was always part of the same thing. … Generically, we were called the Barnetti Clan, based on two brothers, Sandy and Tim Barnett. They were part of the crew and they still are. I dedicated “Green Room” to the Barnetti Clan. It’s an homage to that part of my history. [Source]
- WTF!?’s: Only 1 hardcore one
- When to Follow: When you want to get your punk on and your shit scared out of you. This ultra-violent, edge of your seat stage dive is good for a night of fortys when you can turn the lights down and the volume all the way up.
- Where’s This Found: Saulnier is no stranger to the punk scene and no stranger to directing (his Blue Ruin was critically accepted). As Green Room doesn’t try too hard to be punk but tries hard to be hardcore it works on both fronts. Definitely in my Top Five for the first half of 2016. Out of a possible 10, I have 8 F’s to give.
- What To Feedback: Let us know your Desert Island band in the comment! Also:
[N.B. For assistance with the music, I used a very informative article at Birth. Movies. Death. as a research tool for this review]
Left Over WTF (Way Too Funny) Photos
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What to Follow Up
Bar None Review
Fernby Films Review
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