Thursday, March 11, 2010

GREEN ZONE: The Film Babble Blog Review

GREEN ZONE (Dir. Paul Greengrass, 2010)

Going in to this movie I knew precious little about it. I hadn't seen a trailer or even given the movie poster more than a passing glance. I only knew it was a Matt Damon/Paul Greengrass/war movie. 

But in the first five minutes I knew exactly where it was going to go. In those five minutes, Damon, as a US Chief Warrant Officer in 2003 war torn Iraq, pulls up with his crew to a location that Intel tells them houses Weapons of Mass Destruction. They find the rotting remains of a toilet factory instead. 

Damon goes back to his superiors and tells them that the WMDs weren't there (or any of the other locations they've been to) and the Intel is bad. They sternly tell him to stand down. From that description, do you see where this is going? 

Do you see shoot-outs, shady informers, sleazy politicians, and compromised journalists? 

Do you see a climax involving Damon, aggressively and a tad bit violently, confronting the sleazy politician (played by Greg Kinnear) over the government conspiracy spreading lies in a public place/photo op? 

That's what I call that "THE FUGITIVE ending" and it, like everything else in this less than thrilling thriller, you've seen before.

Many many times before. This is a standard issue liberal-minded political action drama that made me wish Damon and Greengrass had just made another BOURNE movie. In last year's THE INFORMANT! (one of last year's best films and a role he should've been nominated for IMHO) Damon really pulled off something different; a fully realized character that was almost unrecognizable.

In this and play it safe parts like INVICTUS, he's just plain old Matt Damon going through the motions. We never get any sense of who the character Damon is beyond his military conviction. There is no phone call from back home or any line that tells us who he is outside of this plot. 

The lack of such insights makes one really appreciate the newly Oscar Best Picture approved THE HURT LOCKER so much more. The compelling drive of that vital Iraq war film really reduces such a lackluster work as GREEN ZONE to the soulless shaky cam rubble it is. 

I could be wrong but I swear Matt Damon did not smile once in the entirity of that movie. That might sound like a minor quibble but when he flashes that sharp glaring grin it can be quite stinging. Since I didn't smile once either I can't really blame him. 

More later...


Snoteze said...

Couldn't agree more!!! My advice to anyone not having seen it yet.. DON'T BOTHER!!!!.... that is, unless you LIKE listening to American army guys SCREAMING at each other over the continuous noise of repeated weapon-fire for the full 2 hours. The least enjoyable movie I've ever attended. Star rating... MINUS!

Dan said...

One of the best reviews I've read. Green Zone highlights director Greengrass' limitations - technical flair but thinly-veiled characters and a lack of depth. The final shot of the oil refinery highlighted the film's superficiality to me.

Action films should never be boring by virtue of their kinetic energy and pace. That Green Zone nearly put me to sleep tells you all you really need to know.