“Green Zone” Movie Review

     In Director Paul Greengrass’ “Green Zone”, viewers are exposed to two main things.  The first is a visceral thrill ride into the technology and the hell that is the Iraq war.  The second is exposure to the political opinions of the filmmakers and the film’s star, Matt Damon.  For sure, this will turn some people off, as the opinions are directed squarely at George W. Bush’s administration and the decision making that went into our involvement in Iraq in the first place.  Agree or not; however, Green Zone delivers as a solid action film.

     Matt Damon is Chief Warrant Officer Miller and is charged with leading a team tasked with looking for Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq.  The film opens during one of these missions and right away I was captured by the technical brilliance Greengrass brings to his films, though I was not surprised (Greengrass’ film credits include The Bourne Supremacy, The Bourne Ultimatum, and United 93).  As effectively as “The Hurt Locker” before it, Green Zone is very immersive and I felt like I came away with a very real depiction of what it is like on a day to day basis for those serving their country in Iraq.

     As Chief Miller and his team proceed from location to location they continually come up empty, meaning no WMDs.  The film’s plot centers around the source of intelligence used by the U.S. government to find the location of these WMDs and the politics and various players involved within our own government as well as the Iraqi Army.  If you follow current events today, then you know what the end result of this film will be.  The suspense here is Chief Miller’s quest to find the actual source and determine if the intel being reported to him was ever legitimate.

     In fine supporting roles Brendan Gleeson (Martin Brown) and Greg Kinnear (Clark Poundstone) show up as government higher ups working against each other in an attempt to save the reputation of the Bush Administration.  Chief Miller is, of course, aided by one of them and being derailed by the other.  The film’s climax is a top notch action sequence pitting Chief Miller against an elite Special Forces unit in a race to capture (or kill) the intel source.  It is during these sequences that Green Zone is highly effective and could be compared to any of the best war sequences from films such as The Hurt Locker or Black Hawk Down.

     Do the filmmakers and Matt Damon grandstand a bit at the end of the film? Yes they do.  So the question on whether or not to see Green Zone may start with your own thoughts on the Iraq war.  Either way, I feel Green Zone is worthy of a look, but the opening week box office seems to be sending a message to the filmmaking community.  Stay away from making films about the Iraq war.  Even though The Hurt Locker won Best Picture, it only grossed a paltry $25 million at the box office and Green Zone with its huge budget has only grossed just north of that.  For some box office gold, I would suggest Greengrass and Damon team up again, for Bourne 4.  GRADE: B