Directed by Paul Greengrass
All throughout “Green Zone” I had to keep asking myself, “was this film really necessary?” Generally that’s not a question I like to find myself asking while watching a movie. For one thing, it completely pulls me out of the film and breaks the “magic” so to speak. For another, it makes me start thinking that not only is the film trying to be preachy, but it’s doing so in a poorly realized manner. It doesn’t matter if it’s a political message that I may or may not agree with, if the film is not handled with the proper amount of care, if it becomes all about the message and not the entertainment, there’s no point in the producers spending their 100 Million dollars to make it, and there’s certainly no point in me spending my 12 dollars to see it.
It’s difficult for me to even write about this film because I do not particularly want to get into the politics of the Iraq War. I’m a very liberal individual and a lot of what happened at the beginning of the last decade bothered me greatly. That’s all I’ll say. But having said that I almost feel like there is nothing else for me to write about this film. It wants so badly for you to agree with it that it becomes this very weird mix of propaganda masquerading as an action film. I think that the problem is “Green Zone” wants it two ways. A) It wants to be an intelligent conversation starter about the legitimacy of the Iraq War and B) It wants to be an action film in the vain of the Jason Bourne films. It probably started off with the intentions of being just one of these and once the studio bought it, was forced into adding the second aspect (I’ll let you guess which one). So what you end up with is a preachy and forceful film for the first hour and a half, with sporadic action here and there, and a completely out-of-place final twenty-minute action piece that is just unnecessarily long.
Having said all of this, you’re probably thinking that I really didn’t enjoy “Green Zone”, but that’s only partly true. The film has its moments. It’s tense at times, and being the liberal that I am, I agree with the message it delivers if not exactly approving of the way it is delivered. Matt Damon is good, but that’s hardly a surprise. Amy Ryan on the other hand is completely wasted and being the huge fan of “The Wire” that I am, that’s just disrespectful. Honestly, her character has next to no reason for being in the film save for an obvious conversation that must have taken place at some point in pre-production, “Guys we need a woman in this movie.” The action is competently directed by Greengrass, but he takes his now trademarked shaky cam action and goes completely overboard by the end of the film.
Basically, what it comes down to is this: “Green Zone” is a film that preaches how violence should be warranted. But it also tries extremely hard to be an action film. Not a film with action, (I.e. “The Hurt Locker”) but an Action Film. (I.e. “The Bourne Identity”) There’s a difference. And with that, “Green Zone” defeats itself and becomes its own worst enemy.