Tuesday, 17 May 2016

REVIEW - GREEN ROOM (JEREMY SAULNIER)


No film means any more, nor less, than what it means to you. No film has any obligation to actually fulfill this mandate to mean anything at all, but should it fail entirely, its significance and influence shall be diminished considerably. Green Room means very little to me - Jeremy Saulnier continues to display keen directorial instincts, and that he knows about as well as any of his peers how to helm a thriller, but he also continues to make rather little of the skills he evidently possesses. What influence he may have is mitigated slightly by the influences had upon him; what significance Green Room has is indeed diminished by its refusal to acknowledge it, to matter any more than the stakes it establishes for itself. And it almost gets away with it, due to a perfectly calibrated last line of dialogue... almost. Yet as the film it intends to be, Green Room is vivid and engaging, operating ideally as a thriller by consistently emphasising the threat at hand whilst obfuscating the consequences. We know the good guys, and likely the bad ones too, are mostly going to perish at some point, but in what circumstances and to what precise effect is unclear - Saulnier refrains from excessive planning and plotting, keeping the protagonists' intentions simple yet seemingly impossible. It's a wholly desperate situation, with all kinds of ultra-violence awaiting around every grimy, shadowy corner. As a child, I recall my disappointment at the revelation that the Eurovision Song Contest green room wasn't, in fact, even green; this film makes it so, with a colour palette of black, chartreuse and neon green - appropriately sickening. It's a heightening of horror movie conventions, literally externalising its qualities. A nifty technical showcase then, but alas, Green Room never ascends any further than that, since it never aspires to. By its own admission, it means just about nothing at all.