USA / FRANCE / SPAIN / UK 2010 Directed by: Paul Greengrass Book by: Rajiv Chandrasekaran Written by: Brian Helgeland Produced by: Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Lloyd Levin Cinematography: Barry Ackroyd Editing: Christopher Rouse Music: John Powell Cast: Matt Damon, Amy Ryan, Brendan Gleeson, Greg Kinnear, Yigal Naor, Nicoyce Banks, Jason Isaacs, Martin McDougall
The green zone is the comfort zone. It is ironic that this is where the film feels most comfortable indeed. It never really leaves the safe parameter. It doesn’t really dare touching on a far more complex reality than the one it depicts. It avoids real conflict. Most of all, GREEN ZONE doesn’t hurt.
Just as Matt Damon is permanently trailing the events that surround him GREEN ZONE is trailing reality. It simply doesn’t make sense to make a movie about the simple fact that the Americans have most probably fabricated the WMD situation. And there isn’t more to GREEN ZONE really than this commonplace.
GREEN ZONE is scoring pretty high as action movie: if you are out for quality entertainment you will not be disappointed. The BOURNE team ensures an explosive mix of drama and war, featuring a good cast and captivating dramaturgy and cinematography. It fails to achieve the same intensity, originality and edge of the BOURNE franchise though, thanks (or no thanks) to Brian Helgeland’s very cliché-ridden, always predictable and at times superficial – or simply incomplete – script. He drops a lot of what he’s started some time along the way, or simply isn’t interested to develop certain characters or events further.
Watching GREEN ZONE feels like watching a documentary about what has happened years ago in Iraq and why it has happened. It is like The Making of the Iraq War. There is no shocking truth to discover, nor anything new. The filmmakers use historical facts to make up a solid action movie for a mainstream audience who likes to see its own opinion reflected in the movie of their choice. Calling GREEN ZONE anti-American as some critics do is ridiculous: GREEN ZONE is giving the audience what it wants, and that is a perspective on the Iraq war and the role of the American government in it that confirms what they believe to know about it. If GREEN ZONE is anti-American then most people on the planet are anti-American. Maybe they are. But maybe a flick like GREEN ZONE is not really having a point, so it is pointless to think that it actually stands-for-something.
GREEN ZONE essentially does not show a perspective of its own, it only absorbs what people believe already. Right or wrong, pro or anti whatever, the movie is a concentrate of what the majority today would consider the truth. So it lays out this truth in front of our eyes, explained step by step, told by an attractive cast, visualized beautifully and condensed down to a thrilling 2-hour ride. And that’s that.
GREEN ZONE is one of the bigger disappointments of 2010 so far. It could have been so much more. But it falls short early and comprehensively. It is sad to see such great potential wasted, but shit happens so let’s move on.
Henry Rollins once said in an interview that everyone can play in front of a fan audience. That’s easy. But going out there on hostile terrain playing in front of a crowd that is simply not your crowd and convince them and win them over, that’s what it’s really all about.
GREEN ZONE plays a safe set for people who believe in what it’s playing. So no matter how it looks like, feels like or has been marketed like, GREEN ZONE is just a home game.
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