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
A Stryker ICV vehicle is quickly seen driving by in the background during the airport scene. This scene takes place in the movie well before the clip of George W. Bush's "Mission Accomplished" speech; which was on May 1st 2003. The Stryker, however, wasn't fielded until October/November 2003. This is at least 5 months after the Bush speech and well after the time period in which the airport scene took place. See more »
Green Zone is a film that deafly navigates the possibly disastrous path of action saturation, creative liberties and touchy subject matter. Matt Damon's and director Paul Greengrass' third effort after The Bourne Supremacy and The Bourne Ultimatum tells the fictionalized but accurate account of the span following the opening siege of Iraq, where the supposed WMD program of Saddam Hussein failed to unveil itself. Green Zone will keep those looking for a sharp action-war film entertained and enrapture those interested in the politically charged events of the war without alienating either group.
This may not be the hard hitting expose for which some may be yearning, but it is all we could hope for in a mainstream Hollywood product. Greengrass is certainly no stranger to the events surrounding Iraq, having already helmed the highly touted United 93 which tells the story of one of the doomed planes on September 11th of 2001. His obvious passion for the subject gives Green Zone the gravitas and grounding a film like this needs and with the exception of multi-Oscar winner The Hurt Locker and Ridley Scott's Middle Eastern thriller Body of Lies this is the strongest of the growing glut of such movies.
Damon stars as Roy Miller, a chief warrant officer who is at the forefront for the search of WMD sites, all of which were gathered from a mysterious source known only as 'Magellan'. When site after site turns up empty, Miller begins to ask questions that high ranking officials do not want asked. With seemingly his only friend in all this, Marin Brown (Brendan Gleeson) a veteran CIA operative, and an Iraqi interpreter named Freddy, Miller goes rogue to uncover the truth. Standing in his way are the remaining loyal insurgents, a Whitehouse bureaucrat named Poundstone (Greg Kinnear) who wants to keep things on track and his asset on the ground who is tasked with stopping Miller's inquiries.
Matt Damon is extremely solid here. He has no weepy dramatic scenes or big blow-ups through which to act showy. He is very believable and low key and is an infinitely charismatic and commanding presence on screen. Kinnear is also quite good as the slimy suit that stands in the way of our hero and the lesser know supporting cast all drive home noteworthy performances as well. Much has been said about Greengrass' hand-held camera technique which seems to leave some on the nauseous side. I have however, come up with a theory in light of all the critics starting to get on my nerves and actually managing to turn my attention to the so called shaky cam, which has never before bothered me.
Take for example film critic James Berardinelli who seems to be on the line when it comes to that style of shooting. For the latter two Bourne films, he made ample criticism of the shaky cam and it would seem that his overall consensus reflected such. For Green Zone he claimed the vibration was far more restrained, which is in contrast to most other critics who claimed it was the worst yet. My theory? One's perception of the film is not due to the camera movement, but rather the inverse. Depending on how engrossed a person is with the material, performances etc that is how watchable they perceive the film to be. So in the case of Berardinelli, the camera movement was likely fairly similar, but he found Green Zone's material simply better.
Cinematography aside, Green Zone is a rousing action film with a spectacular climax. Not only will it keep you entertained on a Friday night, but it will serve as a reminder of what happened in Iraq every time you press play.
Read all my reviews at simonsaysmovies.blogspot.com
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