Some AICN dude named Rollofellow caught a research screening last night of Paul Greengrass‘s Iraq War drama Green Zone, which stars Matt Damon, Jason Isaacs, Brendan Gleeson, Amy Ryan and Greg Kinnear. The bottom-line remark comes at the end of his review when he says he “enjoyed this talky film, dense as it is. To be fair, one really can’t say it’s confusing because it’s very clear in its points. I’d just advise you all to drink a lot of coffee before you sit down to watch it.”
Dense, not confusing, talky, drink a lot of coffee…? Sounds like a beautiful symphony to me. Seriously. To hell with the Transformers crowd who find complex realism a chore. Seriously.
Based on Rajiv Chandrasekaran‘s “Imperial Life in the Emerald City: Inside Iraq’s Green Zone,” the film is “about the search for WMD across Iraq,” he says, “which at this juncture seems like a bit of a moot point (we know there weren’t any) but this movie is well made at every level if a bit too dense and talky in parts. Its worth seeing just to watch how it all went so wrong.
“Damon plays a military guy named Roy Miller, running an ops party searching for WMD. But after many a bloody gun battle, Damon’s team makes it into the supposed WMD sites to find nothing time after time. When he reports to his superiors back in the ‘Green Zone’ (the lush area where American officals live within Bagdhad) to tell them that their intel is consistently off, he’s immediately censured and told to simply follow orders.
“At this point we check in with Bush Administrative official Greg Kinnear who is busy plotting to install a new government to be hand-picked by America themselves. Meanwhile, CIA agent BrendanGleeson is fighting with Kinnear as all American intel (which we know is all wrong) has been given by one single source: some mysterious figure named Magellan.
“Soon enough, Damon and Gleeson team up to uncover this fraudulent Magellan character as well as the search for the real location of WMD. If you know your current events you will know the giant” reveal that comes halfway through the movie. If you don’t, I’m not gonna be a spoiler.
“Greengrass is always a first-rate director and the movie plays like Black Hawk Down with an incredibly intricate political mystery at its core. It’s a lot to take in: action movie, mystery, political and social commentary. And I will probably have to go see it again to absorb all it was throwing at me.
“Damon is always great. Never playing righteous, more just frustrated that his missions are all bullshit and he knows he’s being lied to. Kinnear has always annoyed me so I guess he’s well cast as a bureaucratic asshole here.
“An interesting character is Amy Ryan’s Wall Street reporter, who is always over Kinnear’s shoulder waiting to interview this mysterious Magellan (whom he always keeps just out of reach). When Damon finally corners her, we realize she’s literally been quoting someone she’s never met (taking it all from Kinnear instead) therefore she and the WSJ are indeed complicit in this false reasoning for going to war. In an effort to get the scoop first, reporters were printing anything they were spoon fed.
“I enjoyed this film, dense as it is. To be fair, one really can’t say its confusing because its very clear in its points. I’d just advise you all to drink a lot of coffee before you sit down to watch it.”