Movie Review: Green Zone

Welcome to Iraq; it’s the new Vietnam!

Well, it probably wouldn’t be, if we had Matt Damon running around the sands. Fortunately, Director Paul Greengrass (the masterful director of the two of the Bourne movies) provides us with just such a possibility in his latest film: Green Zone. Put the two together and you know what you’re destined for: a thorough lesson in badassery.

The story focuses on Roy Miller (Matt Damon), an army officer on the hunt for Iraqi WMDs. Well I think we all know where that’s doomed to lead, and as expected, he gets nowhere fast. As death and drama mount, Damon starts to question what’s really going on. Naturally, the military outright ignores Miller’s concerns, but Damon manages to gain a veteran CIA agent (Brendan Gleeson) as an ally, and together, they begin to piece together the reality of the U.S. government’s actions.

Obviously, this movie’s got a bit of a message to it, and it’s one we’ve all heard before: Iraq War = bad. Go figure. It strokes a bit of thought, but not too much—the action’s the gem and it’s not about to leave you wanting. Preachiness bogs some points of the film, (it comes with the territory), but overall, it holds to its action nature and will keep you entertained throughout. Go in expecting bullets, explosions, and Damon-brand justice getting dished out to Iraqis and Americans alike.

Obviously, the movie’s not beating you over the head with factual depiction, so to those finger-waggers clenching their buttholes and screaming bloody murder about anti-government sentiment…hold on a moment! It never claims to be factual. It’s simply offering its own take on how things could have happened—take it or leave it. It’s a story. If you don’t enjoy it, don’t watch it.

The psychological factor isn’t there, unlike most films on the Iraq War (ala Hurt Locker)—the focus is not on soldiers’ bravery or the mentally destructive force of war on the human mind. It’s about us being assholes. Er, Damon kicking ass. Nevertheless, it provides a nice look into the complications of Iraq—the various ethnicities, the lack of unity, and the power of information manipulation. Damon acts as our focus, and our guide, and everything unfolds around him.

Disjointed, sharp-cut editing and a revival of Greengrass’s beloved hand-held camera style add to the action. Behold the shaky cam: It’s Intense! Seriously, though, it’s a minimalist style, and Greengrass does well with it, as always.

Overall, Green Zone is a good movie, which gives an explosive deliverance of action and thrills. Even so, it pales in comparison to the Bournes, and you’ll be constantly comparing the two throughout. Neither the story nor the script are anything extravagant—but Damon beats enough people to keep you from getting antsy.

Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars

~ by Chris G. on March 30, 2010.

One Response to “Movie Review: Green Zone”

  1. Green Zone begins with Shock and Awe, and Paul Greengrass tries to maintain that tone for the rest of the movie. But the problem is just that this film can’t keep up its pace the whole time. Good review, check out mine when you can!

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