|DVD Green Zone
Run time: 115 min
Genres: Action | Drama | Thriller
Director: Paul Greengrass
Writers: Brian Helgeland, Rajiv Chandrasekaran
Stars: Matt Damon, Jason Isaacs, Greg Kinnear
Following the American invasion of Iraq in 2003 Chief Warrant Officer Roy Miller and his men are charged with finding the so-called weapons of mass destruction, whose existence justified American involvement, according to the Pentagon and their man in Baghdad, Poundstone. Veteran CIA operative Marty tells Miller that there are no weapons, it is a deception to allow the Americans to take over the country and install a puppet leader. Also suspicious of Poundstone is Wall Street Journal reporter Lawrie Dayne, who lets slip to Miller that Poundstone told her he had secret talks in Jordan with an important Iraqi, code-named Magellan, who told him about the weapons, though it now seems likely Magellan’s true information was to the contrary. So begins a hunt for the truth. Who’s playing whom? Written by don @ minifie-1
|Plot Keywords: weapon of mass destruction, cia, iraqi, iraq, army|
Country: France, USA, Spain, UK
Release Date: 12 March 2010 (UK)
Budget: $100,000,000 (estimated)
Opening Weekend: £2,087,368 (UK) (12 March 2010)
Gross: $35,024,475 (USA) (30 April 2010)
Green Zone is the latest Iraq War inspired motion picture. I wasn't expecting much and ended up being pleasantly surprised. It's a fast paced and riveting ride from the get-go. The war being fought in the film is more between the Pentagon and the CIA than the US v Iraq which makes it all the more interesting and the film allows you to see things from Iraq's perspective for a change. The premise set up in the film regarding the 'Intelligence' regarding Weapons of Mass Destruction used to justify the invasion is entirely believable. Matt Damon is well suited to his part as a unit leader Roy Miller, as is Brendan Gleeson as the CIA man and Greg Kinnear is refreshingly nasty as Poundstone from the Pentagon – all turn in good performances. Shot on location in Morocco, Spain and in England I could have sworn we were in Bagdad the whole time – settings are very convincing. Yes, there is too much hand- held camera movement that quickly brought on discomfort followed by a headache but that is my only negative and as the film doesn't outstay its welcome I'm willing to concede the shakiness probably lends an 'embedded' realism. Is any of the plot or characters based on real events or people? I have no idea other than learning the film is based on the 2006 non-fiction book 'Imperial Life in the Emerald City' by Rajiv Chandrasekaran, a journalist for The Washington Post. I haven't read the book so I can't comment on how closely the film follows it. I spent a few moments of the film wondering about the story's authenticity but as a piece of cinema entertainment in its own right Green Zone gets the green light from me.
I always find it slightly comical when people complain of hand-held camera-work. It reminds me of an old woman hearing The Chemical Brothers and wincing in pain "They don't really call that music do they?" Personally, my eyes have been able to follow a moving object ever since I was a child. I have no problem with a hand-held camera.
As for the movie, 'Green Zone' is an excellent action thriller about a US Army Warrant Officer investigating the shady reasons why the military intelligence being fed to the Iraq Survey Group is failing to uncover weapons of mass destruction in post-invasion Baghdad. Much of the ensuing shenanigans are inspired by the findings of both the Iraq Intelligence Commission Report and the UK's Butler Review, which in 2004 found that pre-war intelligence had been highly suspect.
I say 'inspired' because 'Green Zone' is fictionunless I blinked and missed it, there's no opening title card claiming "based on a true story". Conservatives, so often unable to discern fact from fiction, will view the film as a piece of docudrama reportage and find it deeply flawed, as it would be if it purported to be such a thing. The rest of us will recognize that Greengrass has crafted an excellent conspiracy thriller that simply uses the controversial politics of post-war Iraq as background color, and does so very well. As is to be expected from a director who, at this point in his career, can do this stuff in his sleep, the action sequences are brilliantly choreographed, the tension masterfully built, and the characters multi-layered. The cinematography that others have called "ugly" I found added a sense of realism, particularly in the grainy night scenes. My only complaint is a couple of instances in which Iraqi characters begin spouting embarrassing soap-box polemic. It isn't that such thoughts are out of character, just the way they are expressed; the dialogue being too obvious and cheesy. Thankfully, such moments can be counted in seconds rather than minutes. What's so impressive about 'Green Zone' is the seemingly authentic locations. It really does look as though it were filmed in Baghdad. Instead, it was shot on location in England and Spain. A production designer hasn't worked such magic since 'Full Metal Jacket' converted a London parking lot into the battlefields of Vietnam.
'Green Zone' is an excellent movie that will be thoroughly enjoyed by fans of political conspiracy thrillers. It isn't presented as factual, and only fools would look to a movie for facts. For facts, read books or, better yet, read the Iraq Intelligence Commission Report and the Butler Review. But don't blame Paul Greengrass for your laziness and stupidity in mistaking his excellent movie for a representation of 'truth'.
British director Paul Grengrass + American actor Matt Damon = "The Bourne Supremacy", "The Bourne Ultimatum" and now "Green Zone", so we know what to expect here – and we're not disappointed. From the opening seconds, we're into the action with the trademark Greengrass 'in the action' frenetic camera-work and sharp editing. Although the film is said to be inspired by the non-fiction book "Imperial Life In The Emerald City" by Rajiv Chandrasekaran, a journalist for The Washington Post, the conspiratorial storyline is the invention of Greengrass who developed the original script.
If the tension isn't as excruciating at that other Iraq movie "The Hurt Locker", at least "Green Zone" has a narrative and poses some questions, hard questions that many American viewers would probably were rather not aired: what was the source of the 'intelligence' that Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction? why was the source so readily believed when the evidence was so thin? could the bloody insurgency which followed the relatively easy initial occupation have been avoided if the Americans had been willing to work with elements of the Iraqi army?
See the movie and think about the issues. As a central Iraqi character puts it: "It's not up to you to determine what happens in this country."
The Green Zone is that rarest of filmsa well-written, rousing action thriller with a political conscience that perceptively deconstructs the idiocy of war. From the very first scene, the action grabs you and throttles you for the ensuing two hoursalthough the story is fairly complex, the exposition is handled deftly, anddespite the constantly jolting camera workit's pretty easy to follow along with what's happening. Matt Damon delivers a strong performance as an Army Warrant Officer who truly cares about the justifications for his actionshe has no problem being a good soldier, as long as he knows that there are clear moral reasons behind what he's been ordered to do. Unfortunately, during the early days of the Iraq War, clear moral reasons were in very short supply, and Damon's character battles an array of competing military and political agendas as he searches for the truth behind the military's search for the ever-elusive Weapons of Mass Destruction rumored to be hidden in Iraq. This film is so well done, and Damon is so good in it, that I'm starting to consider the Greengrass/Damon tandem on a par with the Scorsese/DeNiro and Scorsese/DiCaprio pairings. Damon's best work (the last two Bourne films and this one) has come with Greengrass at the helmhere's to hoping they make many more fine films together.