“Green Room,” starring Sir Patrick Stewart, grabs you around the neck and holds you disturbingly close. The horror-thriller links us uncomfortably to the openly white supremacist views of Donald Trump followers and the turbulent political mood of the country as a whole.
A recurring theme in the movie is how an apparently harmless event hides a very frightening reality. In the movie, a young punk band from Washington, D.C. witnessed a brutal murder at a remote white power club in the northwest part of the country, only to find themselves trapped by neo-Nazi skinheads.
Stewart is the friendly club owner, who also happens to be a stone-cold Neo-Nazi. “Green Room” is Jeremy Saulnier’s followup to the cult hit “Blue Ruin,” 2013.
When Stewart got the script, he was at home. About 30 pages into it, he got up and checked the doors and windows to make sure he had locked them, put on the outside lights, and set his home alarm.
“Vice” interviewed Stewart about the movie and its political undertones. Stewart said:
‘I finished the script, very grateful for the whiskey in my hand, as the unease turned into fear, and terror into horror as the story developed. I was gripped by it.
‘It seemed to me that if, under those circumstances, I could be so moved and involved with words on a page that by the time it was made into a movie, then this might be something very unusual, which I think it has proved to be. It was the script, and then it was the role itself.’
Trump has risen on a tide of anger, resentment, and reaction. Vice commented on how “Green Room” parallels today’s politics:
‘I don’t think anyone could have predicted the rise to prominence of Donald Trump. Not even Donald Trump could have predicted the rise of Donald Trump, but there’s no question that his presence has certainly helped the kinds of extremist attitudes you see in the film become more prevalent.’
“Vice” asked Stewart about Donald Trump, whose political extremism, made the film very timely:
‘Of course, we had no idea that Dreadful Trump would be up to these antics that he is up to now, and I call them “antics” because how could they possibly be taken seriously?
‘But I’ve been interested in and involved in politics all my life. My first act of political civil disobedience was in 1945 during the post-war election, so I am interested in parties and groups.
‘Particularly, in these days, we are confronted by extremist points of view and extremist actions, certainly since the troubles with the IRA.’
Stewart’s character Darcy Banker challenged the knighted actor:
‘There was something about the tonality of Darcy Banker that drew me to it. There was something pragmatic, practical, logical, and rational about him. Something extraordinarily calm, given the situation that his business was in, that I found very appealing and interesting.’
In the process of researching his role, the award-winning actor discovered this about white supremacy:
‘To my astonishment, I discovered that a heartland of the white supremacist movement is in the Pacific Northwest of the Ku Klux Klan.’
The isolated location in the Oregon woods brings a certain chill to the movie. Stewart commented:
‘There was something about the story and the situation and the grimness of the location. I cannot tell you how bleak it was. That barn and industrial space was really there and something that can’t be built. It was deep in the middle of the Oregon woods, up on a mountainside, and it rained all the time.’
Stewart sums up the unease that frames the movie:
‘What’s going on underneath that floor is central to Darcy Banker.’
Maybe, that is why we are so uncomfortable with a Trump presidency. We don’t know what is going on beneath the floor where we are standing and what that could do to all of us.
Watch this trailer: