Geeks love Patrick Stewart. But we’re used to seeing him as a good guy. What if he plays the villain? That is, at least in part, the initial premise for the thriller Green Room.
The movie opens with a small time punk band, called Ain’t Right, out of cash after a disastrous interview and gig. Needing, well, anything, the band agrees to go play for a backwoods skinhead bar. As long as they keep anything remotely political to themselves, they’ll get a couple hundred dollars and that should at least cover the price of gas for the ride home.
Problems erupt when the band sees something they shouldn’t, and the skinheads react about as well as you’d think a bunch of racist a-holes would react to strangers seeing things they shouldn’t. The foursome are locked in the title room with another witness and need to somehow get out of there alive. Things get worse when the bar’s owner Darcy (Stewart) shows up on scene.
What follows is a game of cat and mouse between two very smart groups. Neither the band nor Stewart and his gang are full of stupid people, and victory goes back and forth for a while. This is a highly tense movie, where both sides are constantly trying to figure out the other, and both are really looking for a way to make their bad situation go away.
Stewart himself is quite a menacing figure here. I’ve seen him play bad guys before, though those were Shakespeare’s Claudius and Macbeth. This isn’t the usual huggable Stewart we’ve been seeing for years. This man will have you killed if he has to. On the other side, another Star Trek actor, Anton Yelchin, plays the band leader as a man in perpetual fear for his life, someone who isn’t panicking, but doesn’t really want to commit an act of violence if he doesn’t have to.
I was on the edge of my seat for most of this movie. I’m giving it ten out of ten paintball stories.