Paul Greengrass' "Green Zone"

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Paul Greengrass' "Green Zone"

Post by Deviss on Mon Nov 12, 2012 10:30 pm

"The reasons we go to war always matter! It's all that matters!"

  • Story: Three and a half Stars
  • Acting: Four Stars
  • Directing: Three and a half Stars
  • Visuals: Four Stars
  • Overall: Three Stars

In the year 2003, being a kid in grade school with no further concerns than whatever was directly in front of me at the time, I had absolutely no knowledge of the invasion of Iraq and subsequent fall of Sadam Hussein. Even in recent years as I've tried to become more politically versed and learn more about subjects like the one showcased in this movie, it's been very difficult to find what is actually true. As is the custom for the "election time" of the year, our televisions and radios (do any of us still use those?) are flooded with every possible advertisement "telling" us who to vote for and why. Most of the time, Hell... virtually all of the time, those ads are just BS spun by the opposing side to tell their version of "the truth" or something that actually happened, but was so miniscule that none of us would bat an eyelash at if we ever found out.

Before I make this movie review into a politically-charged thesis, I want to emphasize the theme that director Paul Greengrass sought to emphasize with "Green Zone": We can't take things at face value and expect them to be true.

---

Chief Warrant Officer Roy Miller (Matt Damon) and his men are tasked to root out and locate the famed "weapons of mass destruction" after the invasion of Iraq and following fall of Saddam Hussein. But after receiving numerous sets of intel that turn out to be wrong, Miller goes on a hunt to find out why. Along the way he meets veteran CIA man Martin "Marty" Brown (Brendan Gleeson) who tells him something that shakes Miller to his foundations and spurs him even more to learn what is going on and what the United States is really doing in Iraq.

When this movie hit theaters back in 2006, I remember seeing one maybe or two TV advertisements, specifically with Damon's character Miller saying, "I'm bringing you in" to an unknown person. Obviously now I know just who that person is, why Miller was trying to bring him in but I was slightly confused when that line wasn't in the film. Ah well, I'll put that one on the editors. But the thing that has stuck with me all of these years, from seeing those TV spots six years ago to now, finally sitting down and watching this movie, was not that Matt Damon was starring in in, which is a disappointing occurrence that is becoming more and more the standard, but it was that a Hollywood movie was going to showcase, for lack of a better term, a different view on what happened after Saddam fell.

Aside from that, the two other biggest things that I took away from watching this was for one, despite whatever certain people may do to try and keep people from learning the truth, there are still people out in the world that actually care about that truth, who it impacts and will do everything they possibly can to see that that actually happens. For another, with this film containing the subject matter that it did, I and Michael Moore are of the same mind in saying, "I can't believe this film got made. It's been stupidly marketed as an action film. It is the most honest film about the Iraq War made by Hollywood." But... maybe I'm reading too much into this movie, as I tend to do from time to time.

"Green Zone" was partially based on the non-fiction book "Imperial Life in the Emerald City". Authored by journalist Rajiv Chandrasekaran, the novel documented life within the Green Zone in Baghdad during the 2003 invasion of Iraq. I haven't had the pleasure of being able to sit down and read this book, but from everything that I've read it was written and received very well. In fact, it was chosen as one of the best non-fiction books of 2006 - 2007 by Entertainment Weekly, The New York Times, and the Los Angeles Times. As soon as I have a spare moment NOT devoted entirely to college-related work, I definitely plan on trying to find a copy of this book.

This review marks the most research that I've ever done before going into things. Before the film was over, I knew that if I chose to review this I would be obligated to learn as much as I possibly could regarding this subject. It did prove difficult, but it wasn't totally impossible. As a result of all my reading, I understand that this type of a film and the message it sends can, and has, come across as "anti-American" or "anti-war". I don't believe that was the intent behind this film. I can't justly say what Mr. Greengrass' motives were that drove him to make this film, but what I can say is that this film was enjoyable.

My only real complaint with "Green Zone" is that while Damon's character Miller is doing all of his running around in search of the truth, not once does he face any sort of of reprimand. I'm no expert on the Army or its protocols, but it would be led to believe that if a Chief Warrant Officer, someone who's fairly high up on the ranking chart, is doing what Miller did, he would face some sort of charges and, depending on the severity of whatever he did, would most likely face a discharge. Honorable or otherwise. It isn't stated which rank of CWO Miller is, it can range from CW2 to CW5, but maybe, and this is a big "maybe", that had something to do with the lack of consequence?

Overall this film proved to be an enjoyable time, minor issues aside, and if you are someone who enjoys these types of films, or if you're a fan of Matt Damon, then I would recommend that you put "Green Zone" on your Netflix queue.

This was a review by tMG, thank you for the read.

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Re: Paul Greengrass' "Green Zone"

Post by frang on Tue Nov 13, 2012 2:22 am

I saw this one on cable TV. I liked it, but it seemed a little flat to me. Don't know why. I guess I expected a little more emotional "umph" to a story like this.

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Re: Paul Greengrass' "Green Zone"

Post by Denjie on Tue Nov 13, 2012 11:28 am

Being a war movie fan/son of a retired military guy, I've watched quite a few movies, read war history, and gotten stories from my dad on the conflicts we've gone through. Green Zone definitely was different and something I wasn't expecting. I was some what expecting a toned down Black Hawk Down, what I got was a completely different side of life/story from it all.

Now to just watch it, I'd watch it maybe 1 or 2 more times. However, after that I would probably loose interest. As good as it is for showing that other side of the story, it reminds me a lot of the Bourne Trilogy with Matt Damon running around trying to figure out "What the hell is going on??".

Other'n that, good movie. Oh, and I agree with you a bit Frang, there were times I felt that it needed more emotion than just a shoulder shrug.

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Re: Paul Greengrass' "Green Zone"

Post by Deviss on Wed Nov 14, 2012 11:30 am

Well no movie is wholly perfect, as much as we want them to be. It was nice to learn from a MW friend of mine that the majority of what happened in "Green Zone" would actually happen though.

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