Green Zone (DVD)

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Green Zone (DVD)

UNITED 93 director Paul Greengrass explores the aftermath of the Iraq invasion in this feature adaptation of author Rajiv Chandrasekaran's literary ex...

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Review of "Green Zone (DVD)"

published 02/10/2010 | thedevilinme
Member since : 13/05/2008
Reviews : 2493
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Pro Made the most of a by-the-numbers script
Cons We want Bourne back!
very helpful
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Characters / Performances
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"Bournes little brother....."

I was only joking guys! It was for oil, you silly fools.

I was only joking guys! It was for oil, you silly fools.

Certificate 18
Genre - War Thriller
RuN-TiMe - 115 minutes
Suited - Young adults and up

So, Damon and Greengrass are back, but not for Bourne, both reticent to revisit the superb franchise for undisclosed reasons (probably holding out for more money), deciding to go with this enjoyable popcorn thriller about the failure to find WMD in Iraq instead. Universal asked Greengrass what he wanted to do after the Bourne Ultimatum and he went for something along the lines of '911' and the Iraq War, those tense and controversial true life events suited to his style of film making. As a war cameraman in his early days he has a real feel for this stuff. The studio immediately granted his wish and rewarded him with this and United 93, hopefully to try and make Universal Pictures a lot more money. Paul is a political animal and very opinionated on what went on during the 'War on Terror' and now that we all know we were fed a pile of bull over the threat Saddam was to the west he wanted to put those emotions down on celluloid.

For the Brits the "45 minute" WMD threat nonsense turned out to be towards 'British interest in Cyprus', not London, and to this day we still have no idea what those British interests were in Cyprus, let alone finding anything in Iraq, Saddam had to even hit a barn door, let alone fling rockets across oceans! But with that raw anger over the war still lingering here, and in America, films are starting to come out that question America's moral choices taken in what is the most disgusting event in my life time that my country has been associated with, all for a seedy oil grab by putting another Saddam into power that will spend that oil money on Coca Cola and American munitions.

Greengrass talks about his research for the film and how the west had decimated Saddam's WMD capacity in the first Iraq War and the only way they could have built up any WMD capacity in the interim is if we, the west, had sold them another lot. As he says, America and Britain now know what our governments are capable of.

There's a factory not 12 miles from the author of this reviewers house that supplied 'fertilizer products and the methods to disperse them' to Iraq back in the early 1980s and we now know full well what those product were for. We were told our politicians believed the '45 minute threat' and so the United Nations were cajoled into war by the Security Council, who just so happened to be the five biggest arms exporters, war great for business on those seismic tectonic Arab plates. This film doesn't dare dip too deep on the duplicitous side of things but at least Hollywood has started speaking, be it through an English director, Greengrass getting a lot of stick over Greenzone with many shouts of 'anti-Americanism.

-The Cast-

Matt Damon ... Miller
Yigal Naor ... General Al Rawi
Said Faraj ... Seyyed Hamza
Brendan Gleeson ... Martin Brown
Khalid Abdalla ... Freddy
Jason Isaacs ... Briggs
Nicoye Banks ... Perry
Jerry Della Salla ... Wilkins
Sean Huze ... Conway
Amy Ryan ... Lawrie Dayne
Greg Kinnear ... Clark Poundstone
Michael O'Neill ... Colonel Bethel
Allen Vaught ... Captain Jonathan Vaught
Raad Rawi ... Ahmed Zubaidi
Paul Rieckhoff ... Gonzales

-The Plot-

Lieutenant Miller (Matt Damon) heads a team of American soldiers looking for WMD in Iraq, straight after the initial invasion in 2003, but no luck so far, all the intelligence and locations coming up blank. When he is asked to dig up a soccer pitch in downtown Baghdad he realizes there may not be any WMD anywhere in Iraq and so the prefix for war one big lie.

Frustrated with getting no answers he decides to ask some questions, with the help of a reluctant translator (Khalid Abdalla), both he and Millers team soon in the mire and coming to the attention of the CIA, the US government inner circle and all manner of shady groups operating in Iraq, not impressed with his meddling.
A New York Times journalist Lawrie Dayne (Amy Ryan) is also having doubts about the weapons showing up, especially as it was she who wrote a pre war story that an informant called 'Magellan' had given her 'genuine' intel on where the WMD would be if the west invades, the Blair dodgy dossier type deal.

Highly placed CIA Field Officer Martin Brown (Brendan Gleeson) is sympathetic to Millers cause and enlists him and his team to speed up the search, whilst Special Forces man Briggs (Jason Isaacs) isn't in the mood to help any loose cannons and soon on their case. After Miller extracts a book full of names from a high level Baathist connection, General Al Rawi (Yigal Naor), the 'Jack of Clubs' in that infamous deck of cards, the book may point to where exactly the WMD are as the chase is on across Iraq to find that truth, the now anxious US administer in Iraq, Clark Poundstone (Greg Kinnear) determined to reign Miller in with his goons before he finds that truth.

-The Conclusion-

With Greengrass delivering his distinctive style to a less than distinctive script here, again mixing in actors with the real people and soldiers who were actually there on the ground, like he did in United 93, a very average thriller becomes watchable. The Kingdom, a dreadful post 911 bombastic effort with Jamie Foxx, was how not to do it post Iraq and Greengrass has clearly learnt from that. What we don't need is yet more chest beating American soldiers, why I thought the Hurt Locker was a flop. I found this far more realistic and to the point when it comes to US troops on the ground in Iraq, although all the mindless brutality by those same American soldiers on the locals is still not palatable for mainstream Hollywood films. Only this week we have learnt that five American Marines are to be tried for murder for randomly killing Iraqi citizens and 'boiling their limbs' in their baths for war trophies!

Alas, the fact this wasn't Bourne saw it break even at best, only getting $85 million back so far from its $100 million budget. It's interesting to note that Bond, Bourne and the Mission Impossible franchise have all held back on making their latest films, some citing financing problems, but a stand off if you ask me as they know they are slowly merging into one, the prize to be the next Bond and kill of the British agent once and for all very big. I know the Americans are making a TV series around Jason Bourne on HBO so maybe that, but I feel that proposed show and Greenzone are a little teaser to both Universal and Bourne fans that the franchise will be back.

Apart form the expected cheesy short speech at the end of the movie to drop the blame firmly at George Bushes feet, Greengrass doesn't get to polemic and political here, instead sticking to the wobbly camera and conspiracy and taunt action sequences he does so well, the perfunctory exploding helicopter thrown in to reassure the masses.
Using actual soldiers from Iraq works well and Matt Damon convinces as the conscientious American officer trying to do his duty. Soldiers are sent to do a job and not to ask questions, however bad that job is, Damon's character, which is based on a real weapons inspector who had the same anxieties over the weapons, given no bad habits to keep you onside with the US soldiers here. Our own Jeremy Isaacs hams it up big time in his Ali G beard but just enough main characters and storylines are included so to make it an exciting thriller over an obfuscated muddle Syrian turned out to be on the same themes. The more complex movies are in America the less people go see them, why the rather dumb 'Kingdom' did twice the money this and The Hurt Locker did put together.

Action ****
Comedy *
Drama ****
Intelligence ***
Cliché **

-Ratings -
---------------------------------------- - 7.1 (27, 480 votes) - a lowly anti-America 54% approval rate (61% the audience) - a 61% approval rating. - 7.1 /10.0 (27,564 votes)

= = = = = Special Features = = = = =

-Audio Commentary -

Paul Greengrass and Matt Damon talk us through the film. It's quite unusual for a big star to do that and so worth a listen to the first twenty minutes to see if you can get into it. One suspects the cerebral Damon will be a director one day soon.

-Deleted Scenes-

Not that many and a commentary option as above.

-Matt Damon: Ready for Action-

Cheesy behind the scenes stuff as Matt and the real soldiers bump chest and compare dog tags.

-Inside the Greenzone-

Here we meet Monty Gonzalez, the guy Damon's character is based on.

Summary: Bournes little brother

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Product Information : Green Zone (DVD)

Manufacturer's product description

UNITED 93 director Paul Greengrass explores the aftermath of the Iraq invasion in this feature adaptation of author Rajiv Chandrasekaran's literary expose of the same name. A one-time Baghdad bureau chief of the Washington Post, Chandrasekaran was present as American forces attempted to set up a provisional government on the grounds surrounding former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein's opulent palace. The resulting governing body, according to critics, existed in a bubble so far removed from the grim realities of the Iraq War that it failed to properly assess the needs of the people. In this fictional thriller set during the U.S.-led occupation of Baghdad, director Greengrass and screenwriter Brian Helgeland use Chandrasekaran's novel as the foundation for the story of an officer who joins forces with a senior CIA officer to unearth evidence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.<BR><BR><BR>Chief Warrant Officer Roy Miller (Matt Damon) is certain that Hussein has been stockpiling WMDs in the Iraqi desert, but in their race from one booby-trapped site to the next, they soon stumble across evidence of an elaborate cover up. As a result, the objective of their mission is inverted, and Miller realizes that operatives on both sides of the conflict are attempting to spin the story in their favor. Now, as Miller searches for answers made ever more elusive by covert and faulty intelligence, the truth becomes the most valuable weapon of all. Will those answers prove pivotal in clearing a rogue regime, or escalate the war in a region that grows increasingly unstable with each passing day? Amy Ryan co-stars as the New York Times foreign correspondent who travels to Iraq investigating the U.S. government's allegations about weapons of mass destruction, with Greg Kinnear appearing in the role of an additional CIA officer, and Antoni Corone essaying the role of a colonel. Brendan Gleeson rounds out the main cast for this Universal Pictures production.


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