REVIEW: Green Zone

30 06 2010

Let’s just clear up the misconceptions from the get-go: I won’t be reviewing “Green Zone” as if it were the fourth installment of the Bourne series. Just because it’s a reunion of Matt Damon with director Paul Greengrass does not mean that they are going to keep making shades of the same movie. Assuming so would mean that you see no difference between “Taxi Driver” and “Goodfellas” – both were directed by Martin Scorsese and starred Robert DeNiro.

The only similarity you might see between Damon and Greengrass’ latest collaboration and the Bourne trilogy is the shaky camera action. Directors usually shoot their movies in a similar style save that it fits, so there’s really no grounds for a comparison. Unless, of course, you like to relate potentially nauseating experiences.

Call it “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” for the Iraq Era, if you must find some movie to compare it to. Instead of having its heart rooted in the wholesome simplicity of small-town values, though, “Green Zone” is rooted in CNN cynicism. Damon’s Roy Miller is a captain leading the unit searching for weapons of mass destruction (WMD) who sees his duties as very black and white. Either the WMDs are at the site or they aren’t. But he is operating in a decidedly gray moral atmosphere, where war wages between the CIA and the Pentagon once the Iraqis are defeated.

The debate rages on how to incorporate the native people into the new regime in post-“Mission Accomplished” Iraq, yet Miller can’t stop thinking about the past. Questioning American motives at a time when the country is still trying to justify their invasion doesn’t make Miller very popular, and he is forced to wander slightly outside his boundaries to get the answers he wants. He doesn’t so much as go Sarah Palin-style rogue as he tracks down the truth, but he’s hunted as such.

Or maybe you should call it the anti-“The Kingdom,” Peter Berg’s 2007 film that presented a fictionalized version of the Riyadh compound bombing in Saudi Arabia. As Jamie Foxx, Jennifer Garner, Chris Cooper, and Jason Bateman work to hunt down the terrorists who took innocent lives, you can’t help but feel a surge of confidence that our country is doing whatever is necessary to prevent the monstrosities of 9/11 from ever happening again. Unlike “The Kingdom,” we are meant to feel ashamed of our country in “Green Zone” for doing what it thought was the right thing, even if it might not have been for all the right reasons. All politics aside, it never feels good to be ashamed of your country. B- /


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30 06 2010
Mad Hatter

Liked this movie a lot myself, and you’re right to point out that it really isn’t BOURNE IN BAGHDAD. It’s not flawless by any stretch, but the way it gives you something to ponder while it lets its action play out is a great touch, and ultimately what made the movie work for me.

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