Green Zone

Yes, this review is extremely late. The film itself came and went fairly uneventfully, but I figured I’d better post the review up anyway. It’s either review films or work for wages like a functioning member of society… So, Green Zone then.

Green Zone (2010)

It’s right there. The first thing on the damn poster is “From the director of The Bourne Supremacy and The Bourne Ultimatum” and a whopping great photo of Matt Damon. It’s very hard not to draw comparisons with a certain forgetful ass-whuppin’ machine. It’s a shame, really as Green Zone should be judged on its own merits as it certainly believes it has something to say for itself.

“I came to find weapons and save lives and I didn’t find shit. I want to know why.”

Chief Warrant Officer Roy Miller (Matt Damon) is posted to Iraq to justify the US invasion by finding weapons of mass destruction. With his search proving fruitless, he starts asking tricky questions, and soon even his own side are out to kill him. The story itself was alright, if a little predictable. Damon is fine as Miller, but the role doesn’t exactly require him to stretch himself that much. At times, I felt Miller was a bit too “all-American” though, appearing to naturally choose the most patriotic thing he could at a moment’s notice. Brendan Gleeson was great, proving that I will pretty much enjoy him in every film he appears in thanks to In Bruges. Jason Isaacs too, was quite the bad-ass. As someone who is used to Isaacs in his Lucius Malfoy guise, it was refreshing to see a different, less catty side of him (face it, Lucius Malfoy is a vicious bastard, but he’s a bit girly. I mean, look at his hair…) Greg Kinnear was good too, although he didn’t exactly have to play much further outside his normal “pompous dick” comfort zone.

I kept getting the feeling that Green Zone‘s message is slightly dated now. Other reviews have argued that the message is more relevant than ever, but I’m not so sure. Anyone with a brain in their head will have questioned the motives and possible shady dealings involved in the Iraq invasion, so why do I suspect that the film believes it is truly enlightening its audience with a never-before-considered notion?

A spiritual successor to Bourne, this ain’t. Green Zone is probably best likened to The Hurt Locker and Blood Diamond in terms of general feel. I’m going to be purposefully ambiguous here so you can’t argue with the preceding statement. The main purpose of it is to convey an idea, but there are moments of action that could justify a place in the action/adventure section of your local rental place. The action is, unsurprisingly, brilliant. Greengrass knows how to get the best out of a sequence and does so whilst making it look easy. The sequence in which Miller’s team take a house full of “terrorists”, is really well done.

My main problem with Green Zone is the way it handles the message it is so eager to ram down our throats. The message is a bit too simplistic to be a real revelation, for one. For two, well, Green Zone spends the last hour asking all these questions and then everything’s wrapped up in a neat little parcel at the end. Seriously, no questions are left unanswered by the time the credits roll. Whilst I would normally expect a film to wrap up things convincingly, Green Zone seemed like the sort of film that would want to leave its audience asking questions on the way home. Also, in some parts I did find myself rather bored by the overly dramatic dialogue scenes.

“I’m saying there is a disconnect between what’s in these packets and what we are seeing on the ground. There is a problem with the intelligence, sir.”

So, Green Zone. It’s a decent film with a lot to like about it. I just wish I didn’t get the feeling that the film had delusions of grandeur whilst I watched it. Catch it if you can.

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