Green Room Review

‘Green Room’ is a masterfully constructed horror-thriller that will shock and make you cringe from the real world visceral violence that surrounds these characters.

This is director and writer Jeremy Saulnier’s follow up from ‘Blue Ruin’, (which can be seen on Netflix) a story about vengeance. ‘Blue Ruin’ had much more locations than ‘Green Room’. Jeremy Saulnier wanted to focus on one location which apart from the prior set up he does. I was intrigued by the idea that most of the film would take place in one room and not much else, and how much he would stick to that concept and how successful it would be. While I am happy to say that most of the film does take place in the green room we do leave it from time to time. Now this is not a negative but I was very intrigued to see how far that concept could have been taken successfully which disappointed me slightly.

A broke band ‘The Ain’t Rights’ are desperate for a gig and end up at a neo-Nazi dive bar. The atmosphere when they arrive is palpable and chilling. They survive their set but just before they are about to leave they witness something they were not supposed to. They are threatened back into the green room where the tension really kicks it up a notch. The band are trapped with a regular of the bar armed with a high powered pistol with five cartridges. The plot fills you with dread, horror and violence that has never felt so brutal and realistic. What is really interesting about ‘Green Room’ is that it isn’t about the plot or characters that keeps you engaged, it is what is happening on the screen in that moment. That is also where the film lacks though. I didn’t feel like the characters or history of the location was clear enough to really get a hold of, which did make my experience a slightly confused one at times. I also feel they missed a trick in the second act that I cannot believe they did not capitalise on. Turned out I was terrified for no reason and that just didn’t make sense to me. It was perfectly set up.

I have never seen a film I would classify as a horror-thriller before but ‘Green Room’ has both elements of the tension of thriller and the progression of a horror film that it’s impossible to identify it as anything else. I can’t wait to see more of this genre by this director and others.

The directing in this film is gorgeous. All the cinematography is really claustrophobic and close up which really adds to the mood and objective of the scene. The green room is filled with graffiti that fits the location perfectly and the cinematography perfectly displays this in the background so you really feel where you are.

No one gives a bad performance here. Patrick Stewart as the owner of the bar is by far the standout with a performance unlike something we have ever seen from him before. Every time he speaks you could be speaking to someone who wants to help you or kill you, and he walks that line perfectly. Anton Yelcin delivers the strongest performance of the band while the others are ok. The supporting cast includes Alia Shawkat, Callum Turner, David W. Thompson and Mark Webber. But again this issue is more to do with the writing than their performances. The pace doesn’t allow for much character development so it’s understandable why but there needed to be a little more than is currently there. You can see character interactions that present themselves the way friends would communicate to each other, but it’s not fleshed out enough to matter much or for you to even care and connect with it. I applaud them for sticking to a 90-minute running time and not padding the film, but 10 minutes could have been added for character development and would have greatly improved your connection and empathy with the characters.

The more I thought about ‘Green Room’ the more I wanted to watch it again and see how much more information I could gather about the neo-Nazi’s and the band, which is definitely a positive. I just wish I felt I knew enough the first time round while still leaving more intrigue for a second viewing.

I really hope that doesn’t dissuade you from seeing ‘Green Room’ though. Indies like this are rare and its infinitely refreshing to see a film that is nothing like its mainstream competition. The brutality, shocks, tension and realistic violence also make it easy for repeated viewings to consistently entertain you.

‘Green Room’ is a flawed but brilliantly bone chilling and entertaining horror-thriller that will stay with you and be hungry for more from the genre.

 

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Zootropolis Review

‘Zootropolis’ provides something that is rarely seen in films that are directed at the younger demographic. An irresistibly cute but smart and intelligent tale of rabbit and fox. I’m sure that’s going to sound strange but ‘Zootroplolis’ becomes an instant Disney classic and I bet that won’t sound so strange in a few years.

‘Zootropolis’ is about Judy Hopps who has a dream of being a cop. Everyone else around her from a bully to even her parents are saying it’s a really bad idea. But she doesn’t care. Judy pushes forward, passes with flying colours in her class and makes her way to ‘Zootropolis’. Judy soon realises things are not going to be how she imagined them when she is given parking duty on her first day. However, she is determined to prove herself and takes on a missing otter case enlisting the help of a dodgy fox called Nick Wilde. Nick and Judy aren’t exactly friends but not enemies either. They’ll need to work together to solve the case.

The plot was thoroughly enjoyable with plenty of laughs and an intriguing mystery. What is most shocking, unexpected and thought provoking about ‘Zootroplis’ is its adult themes. The plot deals with sexism, racism, politics and drugs throughout also with a heavy focus on reality. Certain instances in the film can actually be quite depressing when you think about how present and past events have affected the characters. As far as humour goes all of it was well thought out and well received bar one joke that really out stays its welcome and is more annoying than funny. I can see what they were going for but apart from two small sections of that scene I just wanted to move on. The plot moves at a fair pace and while looking back it could feel slow at points, humour, action and character moments disguise the lack of pace. The plot and characters also have some twists that you don’t see coming whereas I can usually predict most of the plot of other universal animated films aimed at the younger demographic. There are plenty of culture references and modified brands with a few obscure references that you might not notice including ‘Breaking Bad’. I really appreciated these little nuggets of humour and hope they continue to add them. They really improved the enjoyment of the film and ground it.

‘Zootropolis’ presents a solid main cast which really bring these characters to life. It’s shocking to think that all their lines were recorded separate to everyone else’s, when some of the banter characters’ have to perform you would surely think the actors were in the same room bouncing off each other’s lines.

The supporting cast is comprised of Idris Elba, J.K. Simmons, Nate Torrence and Jenny Slate. They all perform well but are not given room to do much more than offer humour or move the plot forward.

Ginnifer Goodwin (Once Upon A Time) voices Judy Hopps and gives a bouncy (pun intended) performance with heart. Jason Bateman (Horrible Bosses) voices Nick Wilde as the standout performance for me. Most of the film Nick is a care free cunning fox until a point in the film when this facade starts to slip away. Nick and Judy have a heart to heart and was one of two moments in the film that I was close to tears. I really didn’t expect that and the way Jason Bateman delivers his monologue is just heart-breaking. A monologue which we can all relate to which is why the scene is so powerful and affecting.

The animators of ‘Zootropolis’ deserve so much credit. Even though the characters are animals the animators do a fantastic job of both humanising them and using their animalistic structure to emphasise their personalities and emotions. Even the city is beautifully animated and the first time we see ‘Zootropolis’ without spoiling anything, they really go for it and we see a heavy contrast of weather and landscape that is a joy to see.

The soundtrack is so moving when it should be and really hits home the emotion. In contrast to that in chase scenes or the first reveal of ‘Zootropolis’ the music is full of wonder and excitement and they really nail it. Sound is so important in film and doesn’t get enough credit. Music can make or break a film and here they fully understand the mood of the scene and heighten it with the soundtrack to supplement the material wonderfully.

I strongly suspect we will be getting a ‘Zootropolis’ franchise which concerns me as I love it the way it is currently and worry it will get burnt out or lose the themes that are the reason it is so great. Please Disney, let ‘Zootropolis’ be remembered as a brilliant, thought provoking and funny tale of rabbit and fox. Told you it would catch on!