“Green Zone”: Uninspired Passion

It’s tough to look this good while spouting exposition.

The scariest piece of intel I got out of the new pseudo political actioneer Green Zone, directed by Paul Greengrass and starring Matt Damon, the team that brought you the last two Bourne films, is how the Government and the CIA really don’t get along. If what they dramatize in the movie is even remotely true, we’re screwed. This isn’t a simple jurisdictional problem. These organizations and the decisions they make force change on cultures.

About a half hour of the movie deals with these issues, but you see, this is secondary. What the Green Zone wants to do is give a fictional time out to the people who sent us over to Iraq in the first place and to give us an outlet for our rage over the falsifications of the WMDs that led to war. Our everyman is a disgruntled soldier named Miller (Damon) who decides to help out the CIA to find out what’s really going on as every WMD site they show up at…has no WMDs…bum bum buuuuum!This movie would have worked if it had the guts to be made, say, when we were actually looking for WMDs. But, hey, guys, the word is out, WE KNOW! This movie also might have worked if it had been good. The first 40 minutes exists on exposition from Brian Helgeland, the man who wrote the brilliant L.A. Confidential, and the worst kind of cliche exposition too. People telling each other how they know one another and reminding each other what their deals were. Really dumbed down for the audience. A lot of stiff caricatures serving the purpose of the film. Then after 40 minutes, we’re given a nice half hour chunk of some intriguing filmmaking and storytelling. With a final chase through dangerous streets, that leads to a climax we can see coming from a mile away. Concluding with 5 minutes of the most self-righteous grand standing, supposedly to inspire a resounding YES from the audience. I tepidly moaned.

The only thing worse than all of the important looks characters gave each other were the handful of people who clapped at the end of the movie. Not because it was good, but because it reaffirmed something they believed. Only it wasn’t righteous clapping. They were clapping because the movie satisfied their egos, which leads me to the thing I hate most about this movie. It’s a movie that exists to dare you to think and question, but when everyone knows the answer, all it’s doing is reaffirming, which isn’t very challenging…or thrilling…or dramatic. It’s like telling me McDonalds is bad for me…gee…thanks.

This move cost approximately $100 million to make…ouch!

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