Directed by: Paul Greengrass
Written by: Brian Helgeland (screenplay), Rajiv Chandrasekaran (book)
Starring: Matt Damon, Greg Kinnear, Amy Ryan, and Brendan Gleeson
It’s too bad The Hurt Locker just cleaned up at the Academy Awards a week ago. This film’s glaring conformity to the “Political war film” genre would be less obvious, and the suspense it does generate wouldn’t look so pathetic in comparison to Kathryn Bigelow’s mastery.
That being said, what is here isn’t terrible. Paul Greengrass is one of the good action directors we have, and he films this with the breakneck pacing he did in the last two Bourne movies. If that turned you off, stay clear of Green Zone.
Another thing aiding this conformist military drama is the ensemble cast. Headed by Matt Damon as the soldier looking for answers and backed up by the excellent Greg Kinnear as a slimy government official, both actors score knockouts. Brendan Gleeson also excels as the CIA agent butting heads with Kinnear. It’s too bad the great Amy Ryan is reduced to the background in a role that is covered up the same way the Iraq invasion is in the film.
Discovering the Weapons of Mass Destruction, or more specifically the lack of them, is the film’s premise. Where it really falls short is trying to build suspense around those sequences. Those who paid attention to the news even a little in the past seven years knows we didn’t find them there. Where the film enlightens and even entertains is in the behind the scenes intrigue and in-fighting between the many U.S. government factions.
This in-fighting largely revolves around the hunting down of a big time Iraqi general. One side wants to execute him to cover up the real reason for the Iraq invasion, and the other wants to apprehend him and expose the corruption. The best sequence in the movie involves the two sides racing against each other towards the fleeing general as rockets, bullets, and bodies fly. It’s here you know that Greengrass has a gift for a well made action sequence. It’s too bad that most of the other scenes are duller than C-SPAN.