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Overall Rating

Awesome: 5.26%
Worth A Look52.63%
Average: 31.58%
Pretty Bad: 5.26%
Total Crap: 5.26%

2 reviews, 7 user ratings

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Green Zone
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by Rob Gonsalves

"Bourne goes to Iraq."
4 stars

One productive way to approach "Green Zone" might be as a dark comedy of frustration.

Early on, warrant officer Roy Miller (Matt Damon) and his team are in Baghdad after the 2003 shock-and-awe, in search of weapons of mass destruction. They speed out to a congested area full of looters. They navigate around the looters and discover that a confirmed WMD site is being defended by a sniper. They take out the sniper and move in, fumbling around in the dark building. Will they find what they’re looking for? We know they won’t, but they don’t know that. Miller has run two other missions with the same results. He’s beginning to get annoyed.

Green Zone tracks Miller as he ricochets around Baghdad like a righteous bullet, looking for The Truth. Are there actually WMDs here, and if not, why does government intel keep sending men like Miller and his team into harm’s way to chase shadows? Director Paul Greengrass, who worked with Damon on the last two Bourne films, employs his usual shaky-cam to sometimes vertiginous effect — it’s a rugged, you-are-there style, pumping up excitement. It’s a thriller in which we’re forever ahead of the hero; we know The Truth he seeks, and it’s not a very happy one, so the action is in service of an almost nihilistic mood. Matt Damon pokes his nose into every seething corner of Baghdad to uncover the pointlessness of his very career.

Greg Kinnear turns up as the Pentagon slickster who wants to keep the WMD ruse going for the suckers back home. Whoever cast him deserves a cold beer, since he and Damon previously shared the screen — and a body — as Siamese twins in Stuck on You. The actors have a couple of clenched, hostile exchanges here, and I was left imagining how many takes they must have ruined because they couldn’t keep straight faces. Damon also has strong rapport with Brendan Gleeson as a CIA man who bluntly tells Miller he’s wasting his time; movies could do worse than to pull in seasoned, hard-bitten Brit actors to set the hero straight (Ray Winstone also performed this function in Edge of Darkness).

As Miller gets closer to the identity of “Magellan,” the mysterious source of info about WMDs, Green Zone never stops for a breath, and neither does Miller. The last third is fairly exhausting. Miller bounces around the city, browbeating gullible reporter Amy Ryan or conscripting Iraqi civilian Khalid Abdalla (in perhaps the film’s best performance) for near-constant service as his “translator.” There’s torture, there’s a lengthy chase — a real action-thriller climax, except the thrills turn to ashes in our mouths. Green Zone says that not even Matt Damon in full fury can change much of anything.

By the end, the Iraqi people are already rejecting the U.S.-approved “democracy” Kinnear’s character wants to put into place, and Miller emails his findings off to every major media outlet in the Western world, for all the good it’ll ultimately do. Mission unaccomplished.

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originally posted: 03/15/10 10:07:46
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User Comments

9/16/17 morris campbell entertaing war actioner 4 stars
10/22/13 The Big D Leftist loonies distorting history--Bush, Blair, Aznar, et al. are all true heroes!! 1 stars
7/28/10 GEORGE B. FEIST fictionalize TRUTH and you get NO WMDs. We got bad INTEL but we also got SADDAM 5 stars
7/24/10 Meep Oh th e lies and deception of the real world, profit results 4 stars
6/09/10 Eric Olsen Entertaining, but Matt Damon's kinda getting tired in action-y roles. 4 stars
3/26/10 Rob Pretty much what I expected, overall entertaining. 4 stars
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  12-Mar-2010 (R)
  DVD: 22-Jun-2010


  DVD: 22-Jun-2010

[trailer] Trailer

Directed by
  Paul Greengrass

Written by
  Brian Helgeland

  Matt Damon
  Jason Isaacs
  Brendan Gleeson
  Greg Kinnear
  Amy Ryan
  Khalid Abdalla

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