CATEGORIES ReviewsMatt Damon re-teams with Bourne Supremacy and Ultimatum director Paul Greengrass in Green Zone, a political thriller set in post-9/11 Iraq. We all know that those Bourne movies are classics - but where does this collaboration sit in the mix?
Find out what we thought of Green Zone after the jump... Green Zone (15)
Starring: Matt Damon, Amy Ryan, Greg Kinnear
Director: Paul Greengrass
Running time: 115 minutes
Trailer: Watch it here
In a nutshell: Matt Damon and director Paul Greengrass re-team for an Iraqi set drama that's being labelled as 'Bourne goes to war' (a bit unfairly actually, when Scorsese and DiCaprio made The Departed, no one called it Gangs of Boston). Damon plays Roy Miller, a soldier tasked with finding WMDs in the weeks after the invasion, of course, it's not much of a spoiler to tell you there aren't any and soon Miller is embroiled in a twisty conspiracy thriller.
What's good about it? The film creates a mood of desperation and chaos extremely well. Matt Damon is excellent and isn't simply 'Bourne in fatigues', for a start we actually get to hear him talk in this film, plus he even gets an ass whooping or two and never forgets his name or birthday...
Green Zone is unashamedly anti-war, and everything - from the way the camera captures American helicopters swooping ominously out of the sky to the familiar iconography of black hoods - presents the invasion as a mistake. If it wasn't for the presence of Damon, the American's would flat out be the bad guys in this film. Green Zone takes its place in a new sub-genre; the 'Hollywood-liberal's-apology-for-Iraq-war' film (following less successful titles like Lions for Lambs and Rendition). And whilst props must be given to Greengrass for realising he could pull in the huge Bourne audience by remembering to provide equal parts entertainment and morality lesson, there are still flaws...
What's not so good? The story is based on fact but, importantly, it is not a docu-drama like Greengrass' (superior) Bloody Sunday. The characters might be based on real people (culled from Rajiv Chandrasekaran's book 'Imperial Life in the Emerald City') but fundamentally neither they, nor the plot, are real. The war is, however, and the horrors of this are being felt to this day making it an uneasy paradox which constantly threatens to pull you out of proceedings.
Verdict: In trying to balance the gunfights with the politics, Greengrass has created a film that almost succeeds in wringing as many hands as it does necks. It's a hard balancing act to maintain, especially when the violence is supposed to both excite and upset the audience.