Matt Damon has never shied away from choosing politically themed movies, from 'Syriana' in 2005 to 'The Good Shepherd' in 2006 to the 2010 thriller 'Green Zone.' Already, 'Green Zone' is being attacked by some online commentators as a movie of American guilt, supposedly representative of Damon's left-leaning politics.

"[It] sounds like another boring anti-American diatribe," one user ranted recently on a Collider.com message board discussing the film's release. "When is Hollywood going to make a film that has at least a modicum of original material and perhaps something intelligent that requires just a minimum of thought?"
Matt Damon has never shied away from choosing politically themed movies, from 'Syriana' in 2005 to 'The Good Shepherd' in 2006 to the 2010 thriller 'Green Zone.' Already, 'Green Zone' is being attacked by some online commentators as a movie of American guilt, supposedly representative of Damon's left-leaning politics.

"[It] sounds like another boring anti-American diatribe," one user ranted recently on a Collider.com message board discussing the film's release. "When is Hollywood going to make a film that has at least a modicum of original material and perhaps something intelligent that requires just a minimum of thought?"

From a commenter on another board: "Another Anti-American movie cloaked in explosions, since the last ten-plus movies bombed in '08. Hollyweird has figured out the way to draw in the audience by appealing to the blow 'em up real good crowd to pull in the Benjamins, while hocking their nutty ideas in the background."

'Green Zone' hits theaters March 12, 2010, and co-stars Greg Kinnear, Brendan Gleeson and Amy Ryan. The movie is directed by Paul Greengrass ('Bourne Supremacy' and 'Ultimatum'), is based on the book 'Imperial Life in the Emerald City' by Washington Post writer Rajiv Chandrasekaran, and the screenplay is written by Brian Helgeland ('L.A. Confidential').

'Green Zone' is set in early Iraq war, when, according to film press notes, "no one could be trusted and every decision could detonate unforeseen consequences." Damon plays CIA Chief Warrant Officer Roy Miller, appointed a team of Army investigators to find chemical agents and weapons of mass destruction stockpiled in the Iraqi desert. Miller searches for answers amid faulty and covert intelligence. In the balance hangs a rogue regime's status, or war escalating in an unstable region. The search is actually an elaborate cover-up.

The real-life Green Zone is a 10-square-kilometer enclosed area inside central Baghdad taken over by Americans after the 2003 Iraqi invasion. It is the hub and a symbol for international presence in Iraq -- possibly contributing to the movie's hot-button reaction. The Green Zone was passed to Iraqi control in Jan. 2009.



What could be different about 'Green Zone''s supposed "anti-American" theme is that Greengrass is directing. He brings a highly stylized professional approach to his work that stays above the fray. Among Damon's most successful movies, the last two 'Bourne' movies were political-lite thrillers with lots of action. The 'Green Zone' trailer (see above), which hit the Web in October, looks to be in the tradition of the 'Bourne' series. Given the franchise's success, it is probably best to capitalize on that formula. Even Greengrass's movies with a political bent, such as 2006's 'United 93,' are told from an American perspective, instead of through commentary about American international agenda.

Greengrass said in January 2008 of 'Green Zone,' "Film shouldn't be disenfranchised from the national conversation. It is never too soon for cinema to engage with events that shape our lives."

We are removed from glut of Hollywood war movies from 2007, when 'In the Valley of Elah,' 'Lions for Lambs,' 'Rendition' and others created a steady drumbeat of antiwar sentiment at the multiplex. The politics of films evolve with the times, and Hollywood doesn't seem to have the same outrage for the war that it did two years ago.

September's well-received 'The Hurt Locker' was marked by its middle-of-the-road political bent on the Iraq War, which follows around an elite bomb-disposal squad in Baghdad. Directed by Kathryn Bigelow, it was based on a detailed book by embedded investigative journalist Mark Boal.

Damon is one of those famously liberal Hollywood actors. South Park's' Trey Parker and Matt Stone parodied Damon In 2004's 'Team America: World Police,' the Iraq War as a crazy, ranting version of himself. Damon said of war in 2006, "I don't think that it's fair, as I said before, that it seems like we have a fighting class in our country that's comprised of people who have to go for either financial reasons, or ... I don't think that that is fair, and if you're gonna send people to war, then that needs to be everybody."

Damon further cemented his political views when he called the candidacy of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin for vice president has "a bad Disney movie." If it weren't for a taped interview Damon did posted on YouTube Sept. 10, 2008, his politics may have receded behind his charity work.

"'I'm just a hockey mom from Alaska here to take on the White House.' It's absurd," Damon said. "I need to know if she really thinks dinosaurs were here 4,000 years ago. Because she's gonna have the nuclear codes ... You do the actuarial tables. There's a one-out-of-three chance that [John] McCain doesn't survive his first term, and it'll be President Palin."
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