Many considered writer/director, Jeremy Saulnier’s, feature debut, “Blue Ruin,” one of the best films of 2015. The way in which he is able to build narrative, character, and tension is hypnotically kinetic. The same goes for Saulnier’s entrapment thriller, “Green Room.” This film has a freak-ton going for it, right from the conception; living an honest-to-God punk rock lifestyle, a band finds itself excepting a less-than-preferable gig to afford their way back home. So the protagonists are starving artists. Done. Little to no time is wasted trying to get you to like them. And honestly, they couldn’t give a shit if you do or don’t (PUNK ROCK!). The gig is way the fuck up in some woods in a neo-Nazi rock club. So now we have our protagonists forced into a perfectly creepy venue full of unsavoriness. They witness a murder. They’re witnessed witnessing a murder. And now we have the makings of a fucking explosive; a group of hard-core artists with their backs up against a wall and a forest of evil supremacists to mow through to freedom.
The cast is a goddamned knockout. Anton Yelchin (“Fright Night,” those “Star Trek” movies) slips into a trauma and blood-loss induced madness progressively throughout, and is mesmerizing in doing so. Alia Shawkat (Maeby from “Arrested Development”) plays a sound voice of reason that kindles into a desperate, panicked scream, and is honestly just great in everything. Gotta be that Funke magic. Callum Turner is basically Scott Farkus and a manifestation of pure, righteous rage. “Blue Ruin” lead Macon Blair does that thing where it looks like his eyes are pointing in two different directions. He’s unpredictable and tense as hell as the club manager, who’s just having the worst day at work. Imogene Poots is one of those performers that you can’t help but fixate upon. Her eyes are enormous, her energy is manic and explosive, she’s a holy machine of chaos, and frankly, I’ll like her in anything. Who else? I feel like I’m forgetting… oh right. In a little role as evil incarnate, the skinhead Godhead himself, Patrick motherfucking Stewart portrays the downright devil; calculating, paternal, with balls of two-ton frigid steel.
What Saulnier manages to capture in both “Green Room” and “Blue Ruin” is a rapid-fire style of decision-making that’s equal parts panicked impulse, and logical processing, that keeps the balance of power constantly shifting. There are no dumb characters. Keep an eye on this one, he’s going to blow a lot of minds.