With Paul Greengrass at helm and Matt Damon at the front, it is easy to think that this would be another Bourne look-a-like. I’d say it’s rather wrong. It’s rather inferior than the series. Well, at least for me because I had held the Bourne trilogy in a special pedestal as one of my favorite films of all-time. After all, without compelling adversaries and Tony Gilroy, a film literate wouldn’t be so quick to assume that a comparison should even be made. Even so, the comparison is mostly inevitable and this film will suffers the most if such comparison was made.
“Green Zone” is a yet another thriller sets in Baghdad. Chief warrant officer Roy Miller (Matt Damon) is in charge for leading the squad to secure the area suspected as WMD storage area. But, when his third search resulting zip results, he begins to question whether the intel he and his squad risked their life for is a really valid. Soon, he began asking questions. Attracting attentions from Bureaucrat Clark Poundstone (Greg Kinnear), CIA operative Martin Brown (Brendan Gleeson), Wall Street Journal reporter Lawrie Dayne (Amy Ryan).
This film is a fictional film based on (probably) non-fictional facts. It takes place in 2003, during the early U.S. occupation in Baghdad. In real life, the issue of WMD remains speculative as no WMD has yet been found. The film puts this issue forward by having a good solider, Miller questions his orders. Now, as the truth as we know it has been out in the open, we have pretty much figured out how the film is going to wrap itself up. Frankly, for me, to have such realization and to have our attention firmly toward Miller, his cause, and the eventual futility of his actions are a huge turn off that I spent most of the third act impatient. This is unlike, say, “Inglourious Basterds” that even if it’s based on non-fictional facts, it rewrites the history in such manner that was acceptable. “Green Zone” wasn’t like that, its issues, its messages, are meant to be delivered as firmly and as close as it was to its real world counterpart.
The film employs a typical Paul Greengrass out-of-focus and shaky cam. Now, I’ve learnt that not everybody shared as much enthusiasm as I was when faced with this method of picture taking. For instance, I was surprised that many disregarded the film “Cloverfield” merely because the way it takes its pictures. In this film, Greengrass’ style is mostly an asset. It amplifies the sense of urgency and magnifies the chaos of firefights and its action-oriented part. And with the help of John Powell’s score, I was hard pressed to let go the image of Jason Bourne whenever Matt Damon is on screen. This make it easy to liked and trust Miller more albeit the more I’ve got a glimpse of Jason Bourne in Damon the more I’ve grown upset because really, we’re in a different film right now. The film however lacks a competent adversaries that could shine through Damon’s star. It felt like and probably is, a sole vehicle to cash in Matt Damon as an action star. I’ve got no problem with it, mind you, but two, or more prominent performances in a film is always better than one.
All in all, “Green Zone” is a straight-forward thriller with a predictable ending that makes me sad and impatient during the wait that lead up to its final conclusion.
My rating: **1/2 / **** Perhaps I’ve grown tired with films that takes Iraq as its subject. For me, the film suffers because we’ve already know what is going to happen and therefore the events that led up to its final scene wasn’t all that pleasant a journey to wade through. As an action film, however, this film is enjoyable.