Lean and mean. Be the little movie that could. Fast, cheap and in control allows you to come up aces more often in filmmaking. Take the craft table budget for an Avengers movie. Just for bagels. Cut that in half. Cut that half in half. Take a quarter and halve that.
It’s an “art” thing more than a dollars thing. Cut the right kind of extraneous baggage. Economy in/and of motion.
Most directors would still like an extra bagel, but you gotta do…
Between his first and second feature, (2007’s Murder Party, then Blue Ruin in 2013) Jeremy Saulnier economized like nobody’s business.
Murder Party was a one-trick pony of clumpy, hipster-ish gallows humor. No harm, no foul for a first film, but Blue Ruin was as unlikely an avenging angel story to come down the pipe since forever. This shaggy-mutt genre mashup was honed in, unexpected and refreshing.
In Green Room‘s cluster, you-know-what, tale of a road-weary punk band at the wrong last minute White Supremacist-drug-runner gig at the wrong time, you get a crash course in what can only be described as minimalist upstaging. Wonderful, actor moments are spread so evenly throughout that even villains feel like complete, uh, people? Because a music club is a headache to run on time even for a diabolical skinhead and a trapped murder witness still has to surely and coldly decide the right way to be sure a thug is out of commission. The violence is quick, clumsy but not callow. The mean, jokey tone in horror movies, which admittedly can be half the fun all things depending, is absent though there’s still sharp wit, and like Blue Ruin this film carries a truly tragic tone. Nitpick that character motivation and backstory could still be deemed a little cursory and the counter to that is Saulnier’s very fine end result.
You won’t feel sorry for Neo-Nazi’s (avoiding spoilers here) but when a survivor of the night’s carnage makes a last observation and the leader of the Aryan trailer trash wolf pack wearily agrees, you see this film as an adaptive and sadly preordained survival test. It’s chaos theory on film. A highly sensitive system of music and youth met a structured cabal of hatred and commerce and boy was a delicate balance sundered.
An economical and great film. Hemingway would be proud. If he wrote horror. – [DVD] [Blu-Ray]
DVD Release Date: 7/12/16