The Green Zone

Distributed by: Universal Pictures

Reviewed by Melissa Minners


            When searching for videos to rent, I make my selection based on my mood.  My last visit to the rental store found me in the mood for two things: laughter and adrenaline-pumping action.  For the action quotient, I decided to go with The Green Zone, a movie whose promos promised a great deal of action of the shoot ‘em up/blow ‘em up variety.

            In The Green Zone, Matt Damon stars as Roy Miller, a Chief Warrant Officer assigned to Iraq to uncover the whereabouts of Weapons of Mass Destruction believed to be located in various locations throughout the country.  Miller is only happy to comply with his orders.  Unfortunately, every mission he has been sent on has been a bust.  Not one single location has yielded any such weaponry and Miller is suspicious.  Who is this Iraqi informant who keeps offering up bogus locations and why is the United States military so accepting of his information?

            Miller starts to uncover some answers when, at one of the failed WMD recovery locations, an Iraqi civilian (Khalid Abdalla) reports a huge meeting of Saddam Hussein’s top military brass taking place nearby.  Responding to the scene, Miller just misses capturing General Mohammed Al-Rawi (Yigal Naor), but manages to detain one of his henchmen.  Just when Miller thinks he is getting somewhere with the captured Iraqi, Special Forces arrives and takes custody of the prisoner.  Someone doesn’t want Miller to find out the reason behind the lack of WMDs recovered and that someone appears to be an American.

            Matt Damon basically plays the same role he has been playing in action films of late, the action hero with morals.  Straight and stern Damon taking on the world with furrowed brow, stiff jaw and piercing glare.  Nothing new here - you might as well be watching one of the Bourne movies.  Khalid Abdalla is excellent as an Iraqi civilian torn between helping the Americans and doing what is best for the people in his country. 

            The Green Zone also stars Greg Kinnear as Pentagon Special Intelligence Agent Clark Poundstone, Brendan Gleeson as CIA Baghdad Bureau Chief Martin Brown and Amy Ryan as Wall Street Journal foreign correspondent Lawrie Dayne.  Having acted in comedy as well as drama, Kinnear seems to have a knack for that sleazy dramatic character.  You know the type - you hate him from the moment you see him.  I suppose the real talent here is his ability to switch off from that sleazy character to portray such likeable characters in comedies.  I recognized Brendan Gleeson right away from his role as Alastor Moody in the Harry Potter movies.  His role here pretty much ensures that he won’t be typecast as a one-eyed wizard in the future.  Gleeson was an excellent choice as an adversary for Greg Kinnear. 

            Based on Imperial Life in the Emerald City , a nonfiction book by journalist Rajiv Chandrasekaran, The Green Zone is more of a commentary about the falsifications that lead the United States to declare war on Iraq than action.  The most interesting action that takes place occurs at the end of the movie.  In fact, most of the promos I saw for The Green Zone take place in the final moments of the film. 

            The Green Zone was a movie intended to be a political commentary on the Weapons of Mass Destruction that never were and the blatant misleading of our military who had faith that they were acting on good intel.  Unfortunately it was marketed as a big action flick, just as misleading as the government in this film.  How sad: two hours of my life I can never get back.


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