Nelson Mandela, in his first term as the South African President, initiates a unique venture to unite the apartheid-torn land: enlist the national rugby team on a mission to win the 1995 Rugby World Cup.
Following the American invasion of Iraq in 2003 Chief Warrant Officer Roy Miller and his men are charged with finding the so-called weapons of mass destruction, whose existence justified American involvement, according to the Pentagon and their man in Baghdad, Poundstone. Veteran CIA operative Marty tells Miller that there are no weapons, it is a deception to allow the Americans to take over the country and install a puppet leader. Also suspicious of Poundstone is Wall Street Journal reporter Lawrie Dayne, who lets slip to Miller that Poundstone told her he had secret talks in Jordan with an important Iraqi, code-named Magellan, who told him about the weapons, though it now seems likely Magellan's true information was to the contrary. So begins a hunt for the truth. Who's playing whom? Written by
don @ minifie-1
The traffic shots of the American convoy rolling under an overpass and encountering a traffic jam as panicked crowds flee Baghdad were shot in Spain, on a brand new highway which was not yet open to the public. See more »
After Miller exits the briefing with the General, sand-colored CH-47 Chinooks can be seen hovering in the background. CH-47s did not wear sand paint schemes in 2003. See more »
I always find it slightly comical when people complain of hand-held camera-work. It reminds me of an old woman hearing The Chemical Brothers and wincing in pain "They don't really call that music do they?" Personally, my eyes have been able to follow a moving object ever since I was a child. I have no problem with a hand-held camera.
As for the movie, 'Green Zone' is an excellent action thriller about a US Army Warrant Officer investigating the shady reasons why the military intelligence being fed to the Iraq Survey Group is failing to uncover weapons of mass destruction in post-invasion Baghdad. Much of the ensuing shenanigans are inspired by the findings of both the Iraq Intelligence Commission Report and the UK's Butler Review, which in 2004 found that pre-war intelligence had been highly suspect.
I say 'inspired' because 'Green Zone' is fictionunless I blinked and missed it, there's no opening title card claiming "based on a true story". Conservatives, so often unable to discern fact from fiction, will view the film as a piece of docudrama reportage and find it deeply flawed, as it would be if it purported to be such a thing. The rest of us will recognize that Greengrass has crafted an excellent conspiracy thriller that simply uses the controversial politics of post-war Iraq as background color, and does so very well. As is to be expected from a director who, at this point in his career, can do this stuff in his sleep, the action sequences are brilliantly choreographed, the tension masterfully built, and the characters multi-layered. The cinematography that others have called "ugly" I found added a sense of realism, particularly in the grainy night scenes. My only complaint is a couple of instances in which Iraqi characters begin spouting embarrassing soap-box polemic. It isn't that such thoughts are out of character, just the way they are expressed; the dialogue being too obvious and cheesy. Thankfully, such moments can be counted in seconds rather than minutes. What's so impressive about 'Green Zone' is the seemingly authentic locations. It really does look as though it were filmed in Baghdad. Instead, it was shot on location in England and Spain. A production designer hasn't worked such magic since 'Full Metal Jacket' converted a London parking lot into the battlefields of Vietnam.
'Green Zone' is an excellent movie that will be thoroughly enjoyed by fans of political conspiracy thrillers. It isn't presented as factual, and only fools would look to a movie for facts. For facts, read books or, better yet, read the Iraq Intelligence Commission Report and the Butler Review. But don't blame Paul Greengrass for your laziness and stupidity in mistaking his excellent movie for a representation of 'truth'.
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