Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.
USA, 2015. Broad Green Pictures, Film Science. Screenplay by Jeremy Saulnier. Cinematography by Sean Porter. Produced by Neil Kopp, Victor Moyers, Anish Savjani. Music by Brooke Blair, Will Blair. Production Design by Ryan Warren Smith. Costume Design by Amanda Needham. Film Editing by Julia Bloch.
You can’t turn your nose up at a paying gig when your punk band has to siphon gas to travel from place to place, which is why the Ain’t Rights say yes to playing an afternoon set at a dingy bar deep in the heart of Klan country. They are about to head out after completing the show when guitarist Anton Yelchin accidentally sees the results of a crime in the green room and immediately gets the group sealed in for hours. Outside, the leader of a group of white supremacist criminals (Patrick Stewart) has to figure out how to deal with the situation to his own benefit, which of course means that the physical safety of his hostages is of low priority. This accomplished follow-up to Jeremy Saulnier’s impressive Blue Ruin is another foray into the madness of violence told with gritty detail, intensity and cerebral but never didactic responsibility. Seeing the genre of murder-by-numbers horror films applied to the horrors of human greed and not any silly supernatural origin makes for a treat in many respects, the visceral sequences of mayhem, many of which are genuinely terrifying, combining beautifully with the intelligent direction and smooth plotting. Imogen Poots gives her best yet performance as a woman trapped with the band who has resourceful methods that come in (gory) handy, while Stewart is, surprisingly, fully miscast as both American and amoral. You can put those caring eyes behind as big a pair of glasses as you can find and he still cannot pull off the cold, calculated menace that the character is meant to transmit. No matter, since this gorgeously shot master work has more than its fair share of rewards.
Toronto International Film Festival: 2015