Sunday, March 21, 2010

Green Zone (Review)

     I had low expectations for "Green Zone."  I thought that Paul Greengrass' direction of "The Bourne Supremacy" and  "The Bourne Ultimatum" got progressively worse one film to the next and this was being billed as the next Greengrass/Damon action movie.  Surprisingly, it is more than that.  Not too much more, but Greengrass seems to be getting better.

     "Green Zone" takes place not long after the US invasion of IraqMatt Damon plays Chief Warrant Officer Roy Miller, assigned to investigate suspected hiding places of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction.  (Big surprise, he isn't finding any!)  Miller soon begins to suspect that the intelligence they are using is unreliable (another shocker) but his superiors don't believe (or don't want to believe) that the intelligence is to blame.  Enter Brendan Gleeson as CIA operative Martin Brown.  Brown is at odds with his superiors about the post invasion strategy (because there wasn't one) and recruits Miller to help him find the source of the faulty intelligence.  After that there's more 'plot' than an action movie should have, a lot of fast action, explosions, chase scenes and a heavy handed attempt at a moral.   

     Greengrass' style of shaky camera action actually works for most of the combat scenes, and the editing is not so fast that it makes the action sequences unintelligible; the chase scenes, however, are another matter.  There is an attempt to build suspense or turn "Green Zone" into some kind Bourne style mystery/thriller, but there really is no mystery.  (Unless, of course, you haven't paid any attention to the news for the past seven years.)  There are no weapons of mass destruction, the intelligence is faulty, and it is quite obvious who, in the movie, is to blame for that, and you spend half of the movie, literally, chasing that answer.  Top all that off with a less than satisfactory ending (we are STILL there, after all) and a very heavy handed 'moral,' and you've got something in between a passable action movie or a laughable suspense/thriller/spy/Bourne/whatever flick. 

     "Green Zone" is pure popcorn fodder.  If you can turn off your brain for a while, you might enjoy the explosions.  If not, then don't bother. 

P.S.  A few real people and companies who appear in "Green Zone" have had their names changed so this can be a work of fiction.  The basic premise, however, is not fiction.  We went into a sovereign nation on bad intelligence and had a poor plan for after the war.  If you can't bring yourself to admit that by now, just go back and watch Fox News.  They'll protect you from the scary truth (with their scary distortions.)  On the other hand, simply pointing out the reality of a seven year old situation is not enough reason to like a movie. 


  1. Mad Hatter and I discuss this on both my podcast and his podcast. Green Zone is a very good film - but multiple watches? Once you've watched it once, would you need to watch it again. I mean, you get the point its trying to make - and its told in an interesting way - but to watch again?

    I think the 'popcorn fodder' is a little harsh though - it does have alot more depth than 'popcorn fodder'. c'mon!



  2. Sorry, there was just nothing there to hold my interest. The story wasn't suspenseful or gripping or anything to me. I was bored with it. Without that element, the only thing left was action, so, to me, yeah, that's popcorn fodder. I didn't think it was a bad movie. I did mark it as a positive review. There just wasn't anything there for me.