Absolutely amped up with tension and full on scenes of no-holds barred confined danger, this third directorial outing for visual flair master Jeremy Saulnier, delivers blow after blow of brooding terror.
With no money and nowhere to sleep apart from their van, ‘The Ain’t Rights’ are a band needing a performance for payment. They end up getting booked at a venue known for far right attendees. Pat (Anton Yelchin) and the musicians end up seeing something they shouldn’t have and get trapped in a green room by unnerving owner Darcy (Patrick Stewart).
I still haven’t seen ‘Blue Ruin’ but it looks great and after seeing this movie I really have to check it out. Why? Well because Jeremy Saulnier certainly seems to know how to draw up a fascinatingly rich portrait of tension and grit. It’s directed with a foreboding touch, even the slower opening with its set up and introduction of place and character is simmering with unease as we gain ever closer to the brutal middle of the plot.
Saulnier also wrote this film and it isn’t just as dark and menacing as the trailers may have you believe. There’s a fair trickling of humour within the story which helps boost the human factor of the characters involved. The whole not really but yes really inspiring tale of Pat and his paint-balling day is well penned and I liked the fun drops of desert island bands and how that idea came into play more than once with uniquely separate tones.
It has to be said that this 2015 Cannes screener is unflinching and violent. There are a lot of moments that never back down so to speak, we’re there for every gory act and drop of blood. It may put off people and feel slightly horror-like but I bought into the graphic content as it truly displays the brutality of the gang and their master. It isn’t done just to shock, even though one part fully delivers on that feeling, it’s bloody but intelligent as we go along on this smart yet grungy ride.
Will and Brooke Blair are the pair behind the music for this thriller and they do a great job in getting the score to burrow under your skin and stay there, making you edgy throughout the narrative. It isn’t just the music that works well, the cinematography from Sean Porter is artistic even when we’re subjected to Neo-Nazi stickers adorning dirty walls. There’s a beautiful nastiness to this movie which thankfully outweighs the couple of weaker moments, such as the ending which lands with a whimper and the decreasing threat Darcy poses as he goes on.
Yelchin shakes and sweats and cries and…well, gets properly stuck into his time playing Pat. Patrick Stewart is a great casting choice, not overly bulky or typically villainous in appearance which works great because he’s an every-man. He brings a cold swagger to Darcy and his soft tone of voice makes things more alarming. Imogen Poots is clever and not just a scared damsel, she can truly hold her own, Poots showcases this gladly strong female aspect very well. Joe Cole brings a masculine dirtiness to his role as Reece, not wanting to stay trapped and fighting to the last.
The colour palette is as dank as the predicament the band find themselves in. The story is gripping, the acting is solid and with all this, we in the audience feel ourselves closed in watching this exploitative dark movie play out.