Sunday, July 4, 2010

Green Zone (2010)

Some might be elated to see director Paul Greengrass, who directed two of the Jason Bourne films, and Matt Damon (Invictus) reunited for an action film. However, as a result of that, we get an entertaining political film that just turns out to be a decent Hollywood action film.

The film takes place in 2003 during the war in Iraq and is based on the book Imperial Life in the Emerald City: Inside Iraq's Green Zone, by Rajiv Chandrasekaran. We follow Chief Warrant Officer Roy Miller (Matt Damon), an American military officer. Miller's team are to find the so-called weapons of mass destruction (WMD) produced by the Iraqi government. Besides, the Pentagon, who is represented in Iraq by Clark Poundstone (Greg Kinnear), intends to use these WMDs as evidences to justify the USA's military presence in Iraq.

However, all efforts by Miller's team to find the WMDs have failed and Miller starts to question the truthfulness of the intelligences his team receives. Obviously, Miller alienates many people in the army and finds an ally in the form of Martin Brown (Brendan Gleeson), the CIA's chief of bureau in Baghdad. Together, Brown and Miller will try to find a man code-named "Magellan" who gave the information about the existence of the WMDs. They have to get to "Magellan" before a special team led by Major Briggs (Jason Isaacs) does. In fact, Briggs's team has to kill "Magellan" before the truth about the WMDs' non-existence gets out.

Like many Hollywood films, Green Zone looks like a political film but turns out to rather be a film oriented towards action in which Miller becomes a rebel with a cause who wants to unravel the truth at all cost. Although some may have reservations about that orientation, Green Zone works just fine. This is mostly because the film is entertaining and that the action scenes are well executed. Unfortunately, Paul Greengrass's focus on the action scenes slightly debase the story. Indeed, while the film is critical enough of the army's ask-no-question-and-follow-the-orders attitude, it superficially tries to explain how many journalists, through the character of Lawrie Dayne (Amy Ryan), didn't get the story right about the non-existence of the WMDs.

In all fairness, Green Zone is just a routine action film that gave itself an honourable mission. Obviously, the film doesn't fail at that, because it manages to criticize the American army and journalists even though we have the right to wish for more. This means that Green Zone is an acceptable film.

Rating: 3.5/5

Origin:USA/France/Spain/UK (2010)
Length:115 minutes
Genre:War drama
Screenplay:Brian Helgeland
Director:Paul Greengrass
Starring:Matt Damon, Brendan Gleeson and Amy Ryan

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