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.
(See biog here)