MOVIE REVIEW – ‘Green Zone’

Review by J.T. Johnson

DIRECTOR: Paul Greengrass
CINEMATOGRAPHY: Barry Ackroyd
WRITER: Brian Helgeland
MUSIC: John Powell

Filmmaker Paul Greengrass returns with his Jason Bourne star, Matt Damon, in a new war thriller that deals with the reason America went to war with Iraq in the first place. Just where the hell did all of those weapons of mass destruction, or WMDs, go in the first place?

Chief Warrant Officer Roy Miller (Matt Damon) and his squad are assigned to investigate locations that intel points out as possible locations of WMDs. The only problem is that the squad has yet to find one single weapon. This leads Roy to believe that there is a disconnect somewhere in the intelligence community.

With the aid of a reporter (Amy Ryan) and a CIA agent (Brendan Gleeson), Roy sets out to find the answers. Hindering him in his journey is Clark Poundstone (Greg Kinnear) from Pentagon Special Intelligence. He knows the truth of what is going on and does not want Roy to find out.

There has already been controversy about the film with certain people calling it “anti-war” and “anti-American”. While the movie was on, there was never a feeling that the story was against anything American. Roy is simply a guy who sees that something is wrong within the system and he wants to help right that wrong for the benefit of America and the future of Iraq. He is not against America but he is also not against the people of Iraq, either.

It should be noted that the film is a fictional thriller and a damn good one at that. It is not a documentary even though Greengrass uses his usual documentary, hand-held style to tell the story. If the audience has seen either of Greengrass’ “Bourne” movies, they will immediately recognize his style here. The small talk claiming that the movie is slander and one of the most anti-American film’s ever released is, quite frankly, bullshit.

The story is a sound one even though it does play on most Americans’ disenchantment with the war in Iraq. This is okay, however, because there have been plenty of films in the past dealing with America’s involvement in Vietnam. Just because the Iraq War is still ongoing doesn’t mean that it should be hands-off to filmmakers. Just look at last year’s big Oscar winner, “The Hurt Locker”.

Damon gives a good performance. At first, he shows a complete indifference to anything happening to the Iraqis around him. There is nothing he can do and he just wants to find the weapons. However, Damon believably transforms Roy into a man who cares because he knows that what he is there to find is what got America into war in the first place.

The only real problem with the film is Kinnear’s character. Clark Poundstone is an unbelievably bad character. All he cares about is what ends up on CNN. This is a pretty unrealistic way to look at officials from Washington.

While it is true that politicians and higher-ups are concerned with what appears on the news, the people in Washington do have a little concern for the soldiers overseas. Kinnear does a great job in the role and it’s not his fault, it’s just a poorly written character that should have come off as a little more three dimensional than Snidely Whiplash.

Despite pandering to anyone’s reservations about the war and a poorly written character played by Kinnear, “Green Zone” once again shows that Greengrass and Damon know how to bring plenty of thrills to the big screen. It is definitely one of the better releases in early 2010.

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