Green Zone movie full length review - Very good! Not a classic, but definitely unmissable.
An important, world-wide event ALWAYS gets made into a film...
several films, as a matter of fact, but it's rare to find a film that truly reaches out to audiences and lays the political facts straightforwardly and easy to understand; one such event is the ill-fated war between Iraq and the United States, and how it all began back in 2003 with the supposed weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) that were reported to be withheld within Baghdad and which the whole world swallowed these news without a second thought (I know; I'm a Honduran and I immediately tagged Iraq as 'the bad guys' but I couldn't have been farther from the truth). There are two films about the ongoing war in Iraq that have moved me and made me truly comprehend the amount of absurdity and visceral human evil that fuels it: they're Kathryn Bigelow's "The Hurt Locker" and Paul Greengrass' recent blockbuster "Green Zone". Last year, "The Hurt Locker" tackled the emotional aspects of the war and it shed insight to human suffering and the nature of war; this year's "Green Zone" gives you facts plain-as-day and reveals the blunders of both the U.S. and Iraq governments and how each corrupt government had its share of the blame on the fate of so many human lives.
Many critics find it necessary to castigate the lack of answers Paul Greengrass gives us; they say there's no purpose behind the film. I mean, why make a film about something we all know if not to provide some answer as to how the problem might be solved? This is the film everyone had been expecting, but to release it seven years afterwards and not deliver something NEW to the intelligent public out there, why even bother making it? Oh, I'll tell you why! The U.S. admits its share of the blame, we KNOW about the corrupt government officials that withheld important information and fabricated fake news about WMDs in Baghdad to justify the war and gain political control over the growing anarchy of the government. But however much the U.S. accepts the blame, they still hate having the blame smeared on their faces and portrayed so unflinchingly in a blockbuster starring Matt Damon. True, this film proposes no answers but it DOES reach out to audiences worldwide and gives us full comprehension of the subject. Even in 2010, there are still millions of people unable to face the truth or ignorant enough to turn away from it. So take the director of the Bourne trilogy, add Matt Damon and a bone-chilling script by Brian Helgeland and what do you get? A superb film that will make audiences flock to movie theaters around the world and find out the truth.
The plot: There's commanding officer Miller (Matt Damon), who heads a unit in charge of retrieving the WMDs from wherever intelligence from the Pentagon tells them to...but how weird is it, that they've already been to three sites containing highly dangerous weapons and there's nothing there? All their Intelligence is relied on a classified source code-named 'Magellan' who never seems to be right and whom the lead Pentagon Intel officer Poundstone (Greg Kinnear) is intent on keeping classified. Miller starts to question this and is met with startling opposition from every mayor official in the U.S. army, and they state that it's his job to go to the sites they tell him and ask no questions. Meanwhile, the press is getting antsy as to confirm the existence of WMDs and the Wall Street Journal's correspondent in Iraq (Amy Ryan), whose information is being spoon-fed by Poundstone, is beginning to grow impatient. Meanwhile, Miller picks up an Iraqi informant named Freddy (Khalid Abdalla) who claims to have seen Mohammed Al Rawi, a Shiite Muslim and Saddam's right-hand man in a meeting on a house nearby, and Miller follows this lead, stumbling into one of the biggest discoveries of his life. Miller joins forces with the Middle East expert of the army Martin Brown (Brendan Gleeson) in an attempt to uncover the truth behind the WMDs.
This film is a thriller, and it DOES thrill audiences, Tom Clancy-style; but the true nerve-shattering aspect is the way we're treated to a vividly corrupt portrayal of the war in Iraq and to how the U.S., far from helping re-establish peace through its involvement in a foreign country's affairs, fabricated some dime-store democracy and fed it to the public. The film offers no answers to the problem the U.S. got itself into, but how can you expect Greengrass to come up with an answer by himself? He's made the film for a completely different reason: to inspire deep thought and consideration in his public. The questions he poses are hard ones: Why did the U.S. get involved in this? How can we trust their government after such a terrible blunder? How can we, as a free-thinking public, believe all the trite they send to us? How can we condemn an entire country for what a couple of newspapers report to us? How can the free press be trusted when they don't bother to check up on the facts supporting their most controversial stories? True, the film has some flaws: it's one part cold, intelligent facts and one part Hollywood action. The cinematography is a bit tiresome after a while and proves to be a strain on the eyes. There's no character development whatsoever and little or no closure to the story. But hey! This film is more like a documentary meant to shed light on the war in Iraq and to raise awareness through a good cinematic mélange of Paul Greengrass and Matt Damon. And, true, it doesn't even come close to mirroring "The Hurt Locker's" immense power and near-perfection...but I tell you, never has a film both entertained and educated so much at the same time.
Rating: 3 stars and a half out of 4!