Review: Green Zone

Green Zone
4 10

PLOT: On a constant quest to find weapons of mass destruction, Chief Warrant Officer Roy Miller begins to question why none of the locations are coming up with the dangerous weapons in question. As he grows more and more suspicious, he runs into a CIA op and a feisty reporter, all looking for the truth as to why we went to war. Miller finds himself in the middle of a deadly game of survival and doing what is right.

REVIEW: It was an interesting experience watching GREEN ZONE, the latest pairing of director Paul Greengrass and mega action star Matt Damon. While I won’t delve too much into the political theme here, the film certainly lays a whole lot of blame on the Bush Administration. The second the film begins, on March 19, 2003, the day Bush declared war on Iraq, we know very clearly where it is going. This is a powerful story that could’ve been a truly great war film. But the script by Brian Helgeland presents its characters in such a one dimensional light, that there is very little suspense or honesty. What this feels like is a big budget war movie that looks pretty good and does exactly what it needs to, without injecting any heart or feeling. It is loud, it is dizzying (literally, if shaky cam bothers you) and it rarely gets past a great idea, all in all its just a mediocre film.

In case you haven’t had the chance to watch the trailer, it is very clear the style this is going for. After all, both Greengrass and Damon have traveled the action road in THE BOURNE SUPREMACY and THE BOURNE ULTIMATUM. And depending on who you ask, they did make for a couple of rousing adventures. Yet, considering the sensitivity of the Green Zone subject matter, it feels a little wrong to present this type of film as just another action flick with an action star. While I wasn’t always on board when it came to Matt Damon in this kind of role, he has grown on me. He is believable enough to fight the bad guys, and get in gun fights and brawls of some sort or another. And yes, he does all that and more here. He brings it to the table and he delivers for the most part. Yet why not try and give some life to the other characters? While Amy Ryan somehow manages to give a strong performance in a less than rewarding role, I found Greg Kinnear to be downright bland. Again, I’ve liked quite a bit of what he’s done, but man was he a poor choice for this character.

Now what is all this about you might ask? Well, that’s simple. Damon plays Chief Warrant Officer Roy Miller. Along with his team of soldiers, he is busy looking for several WMD (Weapons of Mass Destruction). And after risking his entire companies life to search for another possible location, he starts to question the resources of this classified information. There are a list of WMD locations which keep coming up empty. Why is every single job they are sent on turning into a waste of time? Now we know the reasons in 2010, but certainly they didn’t then, so that shouldn’t be a problem. Yet it is. Every step the movie takes is predictable and rarely filled with the tension one would hope for. The biggest reasons for this includes the much too obvious direction the film takes, and of course, very few characters that generated any interest. This is Matt Damon’s movie, and he does a fine job, it’s just too bad that he couldn’t have been surrounded by a stronger team than this.

Now as a war film, there are quite a few sequences that light up the theatre. The use of sound (gunfire, explosions and such) is almost too powerful, it even had the woman sitting next to me verbally calling out and curling up in her seat. Sure the violence of the war was well represented by some pretty intense footage. The explosions and the firearms blasting is a very clear way of getting your audiences attention, although it might not always work as it may just annoy the hell out of somebody. The continuously loud explosions, while powerful, did get a little annoying after awhile. And maybe even a little headache inducing. But even when this was getting down and dirty in regards to the violence, it too often pulled away from what we saw on screen. But boy did you hear it.

While I’m not in complete annoyance of the “documentary style” that Greengrass uses (among many others), it was a little too distracting here. I always had this strange sense that things were building up to some intense moment, and then the moment disappears. Gone. In Green Zone, that feeling of tension was “rewarded” with very little. When a group of soldiers are getting ready to kill a man, it seems to want to build to an intense sort of crescendo of violence. But it never feels much more than a mega blockbuster with no soul. Near the end, during a massive shoot out, it all felt like just one big, long, repetitive scene that never ends. In fact, all the action sequences feel like something we’ve seen before. While they might generate a little excitement, it is hard when so many of the films secrets just aren’t very secret. This may not be the worst war movie I’ve seen, but it sure doesn’t rank up there with the best of them. My rating 4.5/10 -- JimmyO
Source: JoBlo.com



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