Friday, March 12, 2010

Green Zone

 The Iraq Wars have not been a popular topic for movie goers, and films with this as their subject have typically failed, but I think I have figured out what it takes to make a good film about these conflicts: the stronger and more obvious the message, the worst it will do. The more obscure or messageless the movie is, the more succesful it will be. Note how obvious message movies failed such as Stop-Loss and In The Valley Of Elah did poorly and how movies like The Hurt Locker, Three Kings, and Jar Head did better. The new Iraq film falls along the the lines of the former. The film opens up in March 2003 on the first night of the Iraq war with Iraqis trying to flee their Baghdad houses amidst the bombings. We jump forward to three weeks later where we begin to follow a warrant officer (Matt Damon, turning up the intensity) who begins to search for WMDs, follow leads from an Iraqi citizen, and pursue a top military target. Along the way he deals with a sketchy Washington pentagon official(Greg Kinnear) and a journalist (Amy Ryan). The film deals with subjects that couldn't be more obvious and plays like they are the film's central conceit: Our government lied to us, leaked faulty information, and there were no WMDs in Iraq! Also the film is helmed by frequent Damon collaborator Paul Greengrass and although his United 93 is a masterpiece and extremely jarring motion picture, I have often been critical of his use of queasy-cam in the last two Bourne movies, and he employs it again here to the same effect. The film is hard to watch and the action is indecipherable. I feel there is a good film in here, but not the way they chose to film or tell it.
**1/2 stars