GREEN ZONE (2010)


Director: Paul Greengrass

Written by (WGA):
Brian Helgeland (written by)
Rajiv Chandrasekaran (book)

Cast: Matt Damon, Greg Kinnear, Khalid Abdalla, Brendan Gleeson, Yigal Naor, Faycal Attougui, Amy Ryan...

Runtime: 115 min
MPAA Rating: Rated R for violence and language.

Genre: Action/Thriller/War

Reviewed by Larry Jung

I was disappointed with GREEN ZONE. For one thing, the conspiracy angle was never satisfactorily explored. The "revelation" at the climax of the movie doesn't go anywhere. Those in the high circles of power continue to be immune. After the initial shock, it is so unimportant there isn't even any big effort to identify scapegoats. Though GREEN ZONE is not really a war film, it is advertised to give the impression it is a war film. The story is not about military operations of a biological/chemical weapons team hunting down and securing Iraqi's deadly and contagious bio weapons (referred to in the movie as weapons of mass destruction or WMD). The story is about one soldier's crusade to discover the truth about Iraqi's WMD program.

That soldier is Chief Warrant Officer Roy Miller, played by Matt Damon. There is not much acting for Matt Damon as the character of CWO Miller is the typical two-dimensional action hero. The story doesn't build up much suspense. Miller is fed clues and information without doing much more than stumbling around Baghdad. Out of the blue, an Iraqi runs to Miller to tell him a high-ranking meeting is at that moment taking place. Please follow me, he tells Miller, and you can capture the lot. Again, out of the blue, the top CIA guy in Baghdad decides to give Miller his card to call him anytime. This to a low ranking soldier.

Matt Damon's character had no one to play off of. Miller's nemesis in the movie is Clark Poundstone, played by Greg Kinnear, who never emerges to be more than a secondary character. Kinnear's portrayal of an amoral senior bureaucrat is true to the stereotypes we have seen in past political thrillers. Poundstone never becomes a serious threat to Miller. He can't even get Miller under military arrest or at lest confined to barracks. The special ops leader, who in the beginning of the move is set up to have the crucial one-on-one fight with Miller, is another stereotype of the amoral mercenary. Their final encounter cheats the audience.

The action doesn't rise above cliché. Even the director, Paul Greengrass, couldn't do much with the story even though he directed two of the highly successful Bourne films starring Matt Damon. Despite all the shootings and car chases and helicopters swooping in, the film drags along. These are just fillers till the "revelation" in the final scenes.

GREEN ZONE might play well in Europe because they like conspiracy theories showing how evil the U.S. is. But unless you are a diehard Matt Damon or Paul Greengrass fan, give this one a pass.

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