Green Zone is Red Hot

Green ZoneLet me begin by extinguishing the haste of all those who said this is another Bourne movie, just set in Iraq.  BZZZT.  Sorry, thanks for playing.  We’ve got some great parting gifts for you.  However, I can see how one would deduce such a theory based on the misleading trailer, but we’ll get to the nitty-gritty in a second.  Green Zone reunites the former Bourne tag-team of director Paul Greengrass and actor Matt Damon.  Also along for the ride is The Kite Runner’s Khalid Abdalla and former Talk Soup host Greg Kinnear who has also worked alongside Damon back in the 2003 comedy Stuck on You.

The phrase ‘Green Zone’ refers to an area of Baghdad, Iraq that roughly covers 4 square miles.  If you haven’t been in a coma during the previous decade and have watched the news at least once during that time, then you would have heard the military-designated label before.  The Green Zone has been a hotbed of violence and ethnic unrest amongst the Kurds, Sunnis, and Baath Mulsims.  The film does a good job to relay this sense of conflict as it takes place somewhere between the initial ‘shock and awe’ strike and the capture of Saddam Hussein. 

Matt Damon plays Chief Warrant Officer Miller who leads his band of very capable grunts from mission to mission.  Each time they are sent out to find weapons of mass destruction (WMD’s) and each time they come up empty-handed.  They do their job and follow their intel to a ‘T’, yet a pattern is starting to develop and Miller is at wits’ end with the goose chase.  Greg Kinnear assumes the role of Clark Poundstone, a government intelligence specialist whose shady operations and questionable practices cause Miller to raise an eyebrow and do some digging on his own.

The film wastes no time drawing the audience in as it gets right at it from the opening sequence.  Even during scenes when the action relaxes, the story maintains intrigue as the United States government is working against itself.  As I mentioned at the beginning, this is not a Bourne copy.  Damon’s character is no super soldier and does not take out swarms of the enemy while dodging bullets through crazy chase scenes.  He is a very tuned-in soldier and admirable leader who wants to do the right thing by protecting his men, his country, and the new Iraq, all the while seeking answers to the otherwise cloudy and fading truths that Poundstone provides.  The Iraqi political landscape serves as nothing more than a chessboard of American and Iraqi pawns for certain members of the U.S. government such as Kinnear’s character.  Add the fact that the media is in the government’s pocket and you’ve got yourself one big case of conspiracy. 

Never was there a moment where my attention waned in this film’s 1-hour, 55-minute delivery.  Damon is awesome and Kinnear is the suit-and-tie pencil-pusher who does his best to prove that the pen is mightier than the sword.  Abdalla, on the other hand, represents the locals and drives his point home that the outsiders do not necessarily know what’s best for Iraq and its people.  Well done, Mr. Greengrass.  Thank you for bringing a great film to an otherwise barren landscape thus far in 2010.       


Green Zone Theatrical Poster





9 Responses to “Green Zone is Red Hot”

  1. Gerard Iribe

    I’m totally looking forward to this! Can’t wait!

  2. Brian White

    Hmmm…I admit it does look like a ‘Bourne’ movie from the trailers. That is kind of why I wanted to stay away. I probably won’t get around to this in the theaters, but I will look for it in 5 months at Blockbuster. Thanks for the insightful review. I was ready to dismiss this film.

  3. Gerard Iribe

    Brian, how dare you. You don’t like any of the Bourne films? *shakes head*

  4. Gregg

    Irradicate any thought of this being like Jason Bourne. The trailer makes that one scene where he’s captive look like he takes out everybody in the room. That’s not even close to what happens. Believe me, he’s human.

  5. Brian White

    Oh no Gerard. Quite the contrary! 🙂 I love the ‘Bourne’ films. The sheer reason I did not want to see this film was because the trailer, as Gregg indicates, made this look like a rip-off of the ‘Bourne’ films. I mean c’mon…is it a coincidence that film stars Matt Damon and is directed by the same guys responsible for the second and third ‘Bourne’ films? Don’t worry…I will catch this when it hits the Blu-ray format in the form of a rental first.

  6. Bob Ignizio

    Man do I disagree with you on this one, Gregg. I wish it had been another Bourne movie. Then I wouldn’t have felt the need to treat it so seriously. But this movie does want us to take it seriously, and it was just so ridiculous that I couldn’t. I don’t want to give any spoilers out, so I’ll just say that there’s no way Damon’s character would have done any of the things he did if he were a real member of the armed services. Certainly not in such a consequence-free manner as he does here. Damon may not take out countless enemies while dodging bullets, but he still engages in enough suspension of disbelief stretching behavior to undermine the film’s more serious political message. My suspension of disbelief took a serious beating, and even though I share many of the sentiments about the war this movie expresses, I found the message heavy handed and simplistic.

  7. Gerard Iribe

    Ah, gotcha, Brian.

  8. Brian White

    Hmm…very interesting take Bob has above. Now I’m definitely going to wait for home video.

  9. Gregg

    Bob, would you say this was more of Greengrass’s political agenda/opinion coming to life on screen?