Not Punk AF

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Title: Green Room

Rating: 2 Stars

There is a very minor league punk rock band doing a pretty dismal tour in their van. They don’t even have enough money for gas. When they run low or out, they have to head out to a parking lot and siphon gas. It’s pretty clear they do this quite regularly.

After a very unprofitable gig at what appears to be a diner, someone sets them up with their next gig. It’s at a remote warehouse and their audience are white supremacist skinheads. They do their set and as they’re getting ready to leave, one of the band members accidentally comes across a murdered body. This sets off a chain of events in which they’re alternately trapped in the band waiting room (ie the green room) or trying to escape from the skinheads.

First of all, the band members are simply to pretty to be punk. Granted these are actors and nowadays there is a premium on actors to be pretty, but really, this is a punk rock band. Take a look at the Ramones. Take a look at the Sex Pistols. Take a look at Johnny Thunder or Stiv Bators, for fucks sake. These are not movie star people. You can argue that they’re not ugly, that they have a rough charm, but no one would say they’re pretty.

I do give the movie bonus points for the band starting off their set, just to piss off their audience, with the Dead Kennedy song, Nazi Punks Fuck Off. That was pretty punk.

Secondly, I don’t know why, but the whole skinhead trope mindlessly doing their leader’s bidding just seems played out to me. In a way, it kind of reminded me of the second Rambo movie, where he travels back to Vietnam to rescue long captured POW’s (can I just say that I’m glad that 1985 and all of that shit is now in history’s rear view mirror?). He mows down Vietnamese soldiers, but somehow the fact that they’re all wearing those Asian long hats with their long brims, obscuring their faces, makes it all right. I feel the same way here. The skinheads are so physically indistinct that they barely qualify as human, which makes it easier to justify killing them.

As usual, Patrick Stewart is a highlight here, as the leader of skinheads. He’s got a serious problem on his hands and he tries to deal with it, even as it goes more and more progressively South on him.

I don’t know why I didn’t like it more than I did. Maybe it just seemed so predictable. The band members get picked off one by one, until the least likely to survive member is left standing. There’s the supremacist woman that choose to throw her lot in with the punk rock band. There’s the right hand man to the leader, over the course of the movie, growing ever more serious moral qualms as the violence begins to play out. There is the supremacist with the violent pit bulls that he treats as his own children. Even the Patrick Stewart character with his acolytes blindly following his orders seems to be a tired trope.

It’s not a bad movie. I just did not feel particularly engaged with it, which is a bad sign when watching a suspenseful movie.

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