Shrek 4

Green Zone (2009)

Paul Greengrass's Green Zone is a sort of backward-looking thriller about the lack of WMD's found in Iraq after the 2003 invasion. At the risk of undermining what was actually a pretty good cat-and-mouse action flick, I'm getting bored with the idea that individuals are invariably at the intersecting points of all American missteps. In this case, it's an interim government hack (played by the always-forgettable Greg Kinnear, and I mean that in a strangely good way that I can't properly explain) charged with the post-invasion occupation of Iraq. What bugs me about this kind of film is the proclivity scriptwriters have for inserting a single bad guy who's overstepped his authority to take the place of (and fall for) a hawkish government and warmongering people. It smacks of oversimplification and hypocrisy. It might make for good copy and movie scripts but Green Zone is just too black and white to be taken seriously.
This is Robin Hood and the Sheriff of Nottingham stuff and serves to deflect criticism away from the systemic failures of the American people and their institutions. It might be naïve to ever expect, but a truly honest American film about Iraq has yet to be made. This one scratches and sniffs around at accountability, but never quite has the balls to place blame where it belongs... which is squarely in the hands of Americans themselves. Forget the politics and treat this as Bourne-lite in Persia and you'll have same fun. Thankfully, Paul I-can't-hold-the-fucking-camera-still Greengrass reigns in the jackhammer tripod cinematography a little bit this time and it makes the process of watching Green Zone less headache-inducing than his last few films.
And what gives with Greengrass always picking scripts where we all know the outcome?  


the coelacanth said...

hmmm, i'm more intrigued after reading this than i was when GZ first came out (which is to say, not at all). good review, but i still probably won't get to this one any time soon...

Withnail said...

I freaking loved this movie for all the wrong reasons - which is to say I completely agree with your review...
But really who gives a fuck about accountability anymore in the middle-east? It is obvious the Americans fucked shit up, but so did a bunch of other people/nations/leaders, etc.
It seems so easy to set films during WW2 because there was one unifying evil; the Nazis killed a bunch of people, took over a bunch of countries and oh yeah, unjustly committed the genocide of 6 million Jews. Easy; good versus evil.
What this movie does accomplish is in simplifying the one entity of evil with the Kinnear character is that it provides some access or hopeful outreach to those who don't read the newspaper or any credible online magazine, who may be gun be the gun-tootin' Amuri-Can type who pick up the box of GZ and think they're gonna get your normal die hard action film, with the possibility of questioning what the hell the invasion was really about.
Conspiracy or not, who gives a shit - I just wanna watch Matt Damon blow shit up, and kill people.