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Green Zone (2010)

March 15, 2010

6/10 Hooahs

Not quite as awesome as the “Jason Bourne goes to Iraq” pitch that’s tied into it, but not too bad all in all.

Green Zone is about a Chief Warrant Officer in Iraq who keeps getting sent to infiltrate WMD sites but time after time finds himself coming up empty handed in yet another wild goose chase. So he gets to asking, “What the eff is up with our shitty intelligence and where in the hell are these nukes?” Naturally, no one gives him a straight answer, but since he seems to be the only one out there who isn’t drinking the Kool-Aid, he takes it upon himself to uncover the identity of the guy behind the “intelligence” in spite of everyone else who tells him to just let it slide.

Obviously, these people don’t know who they’re dealing with. Matt Damon doesn’t just let things slide. Freakin’ Harvard kids…they never learn.

So this here is the latest shaky-cam adrenaline rush by director Paul Greengrass, the same guy behind the shaky-cam awesomeness that was The Bourne Ultimatum. Needless to say, expectations were high going into this one and the whoopass trailer didn’t do much to deter my thoughts that this was gonna be a good way to spend two hours drying off from this past weekend’s apocalyptic weather conditions.

But the more I watched, the more I got to thinking, “This is kinda weird.

Being that every movie about the war in Iraq and Afghanistan is going to be compared to The Hurt Locker from now on, I’m gonna take a slight detour in that direction for just a second to explain what I’m getting at. Even though neither of these movies are the most accurate portrayals of military procedure, the best thing about The Hurt Locker was that, in the end, it had something legitimately poignant and insightful to say about PTSD and the many ways in which “war is a drug”. Call me crazy, but the highlight of that movie for me was Jeremy Renner in the cereal aisle.

Green Zone on the other hand doesn’t really have that. It creates this fictitious story about one Rambo-like soldier’s efforts to expose a military cover-up of the existence of WMD’s in a non-fictitious war, but for all its good intentions, it ‘s ultimately just another action movie. And that’s what bugged me about this movie and movies like The Kingdom, that it felt so Hollywood and that it takes this global conflict we’re currently involved in and turns it into popcorn fare.

Then again, some of the things it touches on are interesting and the action’s not half-bad, so if  you’re going into this to kill two hours and aren’t expecting The Hurt Locker 2: Hopped Up on the Napalm, you’ll get your money’s worth.

Matt Damon’s pretty good as our guy Miller (bitchin’ shades, dude!) and so is Greg Kinnear as the uber smarmy government suit/general dickhead of the movie, so that’s nice. Also like the fact that a lot of actual vets from the war in Iraq and Afghanistan were given roles instead of some hippies from the Actor’s Guild or whatever the hell it’s called. A very cool gesture indeed, adds some much-needed credibility to the mix and they do a damn fine job to boot, especially my man Paul Rieckhoff. Dude nailed it!

As an action movie, it’s alright; as a politically charged insight into the war in Iraq & Afghanistan, there’s something to be desired; as sheer entertainment, you could do worse. Green Zone‘s not up to snuff with the rest of Greengrass’ resume, and while I’ve got this nagging sensation that this might be doing more of a disservice to the way we look at “realistic” depictions of war, I still liked it and I still enjoyed myself.

Gotta love that shaky-cam.

7 Comments leave one →
  1. March 15, 2010 7:03 am

    Yeah, I liked it too – maybe a bit more than you did as I didn’t sit down expecting a whole lot of realism. Despite the way it plays fast and loose with what a typical soldier could actually get away with, it’s pretty entertaining.

    Not nearly Greengrass’ best film (he’ll be hard pressed to top UNITED 93), but lordy does the man know how to direct action!

    • March 15, 2010 7:25 am

      Haha, you went in with the right mindset, but agree with you on the fast and loose thing. Was entertaining though.

  2. March 15, 2010 5:38 pm

    I disagree. I think there’s a lot of interesting stuff going on with the various ideologies involved that are in conflict with each other. I think that you skim over the kind of inter-agency politics where I found a lot of fascination with the film and the way the last act just slowly comes to a rolling boil was most excellent. It’s no action movie, but I felt like there was more interesting and complex ideas and conflicts at work than in “The Hurt Locker” or any of the “Bourne” films for that matter.

    But yea, it’s no Bourne 4.

    (I’ll have my own review up in a day or two. Needless to say, I liked it a lot more than you.)

    • March 15, 2010 5:56 pm

      Haha, I’m getting that impression. Looking forward to it, man. The political agendas didn’t really do it for me, mostly because it just felt like Hollywood, especially the way that chase scene at the end wraps up w/ Freddy. Ridiculous. If it were a true story, that’d be something, but this is something else altogether. But like I said, still not a bad movie, touches on some interesting points.

  3. February 26, 2011 7:00 pm

    Good review, Aiden. Greengrass is overrated in my opinion. Green Zone was characterless and superficial. I won’t be wanting to see it again.

    • February 28, 2011 1:52 pm

      Thanks, man. Right there with ya’, one of those movies you just forget exists.


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