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Green Zone movie poster

Green Zone: Movie Review

Genre: Action, Drama, Thriller, War
Rated: R
Directed by: Paul Greengrass
Starring: Matt Damon, Greg Kinnear, Brendan Gleason, Jason Isaacs, Khalid Abdalla, Amy Ryan
Released by: Universal Pictures

In Short: A return to the early days of the Iraq War makes for compelling storytelling, right up until a preposterous ending spoils what had the makings of an excellent film.

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The Iraq War and Those Pesky Weapons of Mass Destruction

Director Paul Greengrass of "The Bourne Supremacy" and "The Bourne Identity" fame revisits the year 2003, when former President George W. Bush insisted that Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein had a boatload of weapons of mass destruction (WMDs), insisting that it was America's duty to go and find them and destroy them to make Iraq—and the entire world—safe for democracy.

Greengrass enlists his favorite actor (Matt Damon, of course), and the two of them jump back into 2003 to bring us "Green Zone," a taut war thriller set in those early days of the Iraq War. Damon expertly plays Chief Warrant Army Officer Roy Miller, whose job it is to find and secure those WMDs. Problem is, he and his crew are not finding any, not a single one, as they crisscross Baghdad following intelligence reports of positions of the weapons, all handed down to them from the Pentagon by a high-ranking official named Clark Poundstone (Greg Kinnear).

Matt Damon in Green Zone Amy Ryan and Matt Damon in Green Zone

As Miller begins to doubt the existence of those terrifying weapons that ostensibly took the United States into that bloody and still-running war, he meets Martin Brown (Brendan Gleason), the head of the CIA in the region, who also has his doubts.

As the two men begin to search for the real truth in Iraq, tensions mount both inside the "Green Zone," the safe area where the American forces are amassed, as well as out in the streets of the war-torn city. Greengrass weaves in exciting action sequences and compelling dramatic moments, as well as shining a spotlight on the depressing reality that President Bush and his advisors pushed America into a terrible war, by fomenting a nationwide fear of something that never existed.

Overall, "Green Zone" is an interesting and exciting war thriller; but unfortunately Greengrass employs a totally ridiculous and unbelievable deus ex machina contrivance near the end of the film, one that totally takes the viewer from fascinated to exasperated in one fell swoop. Sadly, that ridiculous plot device negates much of the fine filmmaking that preceded it.

Reviewed by Jenny Peters

Updated: (03/12/10 AR)

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