Green Zone

Green Zone

DIR: Paul Greengrass • WRI: Brian Helgeland • PRO: Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Lloyd Levin • DOP: Barry Ackroyd • ED: Christopher Rouse • DES: Dominic Watkins • CAST: Matt Damon, Greg Kinnear, Amy Ryan, Brendan Gleeson

You’ve seen the Green Zone trailer? Sadly, then, you have seen Green Zone. God knows what possessed the marketing campaign to congregate the major revelations of Paul Greengrass’ new project into the two-minute trailer. However, there you have it – expect no big surprises when watching the finished product.

Unless of course you were expected it to be pants. Green Zone is not pants. It’s mature, intelligent, relevant, well researched and well executed. But you probably already knew that from the trailer too. Regardless, you’re in for a treat when you sidle into your seat for a suspense filled 115 minutes.

Green Zone is riddled with more plot-points than bullets. Despite its premise as a war-film, it’s in its element when fairly depicting the intricacies of a crumbling nation and its bumbling liberator. Matt Damon depicts the frustrated Chief Roy Miller, who investigates the seedy underbelly of political motivations surrounding the Iraq War. Greengrass makes a supreme effort, depicting parties openly, allowing, nay, challenging the viewers to make up their own minds about who fits the archetypal ‘Good Guy/Bad Guy’ roles.

The threat of a gung-ho, pro-American, anti-Iraq feature disperses as readily as the presence of WMDs. Despite the Damon/Greengrass lineage with the latter Bourne movies, the action takes a back seat here, making way for a taught, gripping narrative. That’s comparatively speaking – there are still healthy doses of gunfire and violence. The warfare is tight, efficient, realistic and adds to the immersive atmosphere.

But, alas, it wouldn’t be a Greengrass production without the notorious ‘shaky-cam’ covering the action unintelligibly at preposterous angles. Preferred by filmmakers, yet detested by fans, Greengrass makes no attempt to undo the damage his signature technique has caused action scenes, since 2004’s Bourne Supremacy. Thankfully, considering Green Zone is story-driven, not action orientated, this is easily forgiven.

Green Zone labours one point particularly – honesty. Honesty between soldiers, citizens and administrations. Deception prompts the bulk of the story’s strife. Refreshingly, despite its base in convoluted politics, the message prevails that honesty is the best policy; foreign or otherwise.

Green Zone attacks the audience’s recent memory, their biases regarding the Middle East, their apathy for war-torn nations and forces them to consider other viewpoints. It does so without pretension, and offers almost two hours of fine visuals and solid storytelling as reward.

Jack McGlynn
(See biog here)

Rated 15A (see IFCO website for details)
Green Zone is released12 March 2010
Green Zone – Official Website


3 Replies to “Green Zone”

  1. I’m afraid I disagree in part with Mr.McGlynn’s review of Green Zone. I feel that the character Matt Demon plays is sincere and putting his life on the line on the line every day. It is indeed true that the film is probably not as focused as ‘The Hurt Locker’ however it does prove again that ‘the first casualty of war is truth’. Sadly it hasn’t done well at the box office to date, nevertheless I feel it’s an important film and deserves an audience. Anthony Kirby.

  2. Those are indeed some good points. I’d be happy to discuss any issues with the review, but I’m confused as to which point exactly you disagree with. Seems to me like we are on the same page…
    Jack Mc Glynn

  3. Dear Jack McGlynn, I read your review in great haste last Wednesday. I had an important meeting that a.m. Yes we are on the same page. The only thing that I find strange is that you didn’t comment on the acting especially Brendan Gleeson’s spot on performance as the burnt out CIA agent. As a displaced Irishman I feel it’s important to credit our own. Brendan has been doing fantastic work for years. Happily the screenplay gives him the best line in the film ” We have about two weeks to avoid an all out civil war here.” It’s unfortunate that it cost so much to complete this film $100 million as compared to $18 million for ‘The Hurt Locker’ . Hovever it’s wonderful that films like this; The Messengers’ and The Hurt Locker are being made. Sincerely A.Kirby

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