Green Zone (15)
Cast: Matt Damon, Greg Kinnear, Brendan Gleeson
Director: Paul Greengrass
Running time: 115 mins
It’s been three years since the last of the three released Bourne films ‘The Bourne Ultimatum’ hit our screens, and since then we haven’t really seen Matt Damon in an ‘all guns blazing’ thriller since then, so when he was once again paired with Paul Greengrass the comparisons to the incredibly popular Jason Bourne films were bound to be made — but surprisingly Green Zone doesn’t come out quite as badly as you might think…
The film follows the story of Roy Miller who is a Chief Warrant Officer in charge of a squad dealt with the task of rooting out the weapons of mass destruction (WMD’s) within the city of Baghdad that were promised to have been in Iraq, and which was one of the crucial reasons for going to war.
But much akin to the real life events no WMDs, or even traces of them are found, and as Miller is continuously sent to empty sites and dead ends he starts to get suspect of the intelligence he is being given — an issue also shared by the CIA agent Martin Brown (played ably by Brenan Gleeson).
When the squad’s one success is then literally ripped from their hands by Special Forces and thus begins the kind of infighting, street chasing, gun firing and casually anti-American that made the Bourne films so popular and yet again it is done very well.
There are of course some details in the film which really could do with a bit of ironing out — the ending leaves you feeling a little like you’ve been sold short (although it is relatively poignant), many of the character seem incredibly shallow: it’s really just Roy Miller and native Iraqi Freddie who is played by Khalid Abdalla (very well in fact) who you ever really feel for at all.
But what I thought was the best thing about the film is that it managed to weave two things that don’t generally go that well together in blockbuster films — the adrenaline saturated scenes of chases, fire fights and action, and a good, thought provoking and engaging story based on current affairs; although of course the story is extrapolating from exactly what did happen in Iraq post-invasion and is not a true story, it does do a good job of highlighting what really did go on meaning that behind the guns, explosions and car-chases it is actually a film with a point.
Of course that isn’t enough to justify the good mark that I will inevitably give this film, so it is worth pointing out that this really is an all round good film even down to the camera work, the best example I can give is that there was at least a full minute where Miller was essentially browsing the internet, but the combination of the changing camera shots and rising middle-eastern influenced music still managed to make it seem exciting.
But is it really good enough to compare with the Bourne films which it resembles so much? Admittedly in both Matt Daemon does spend a lot of time shouting “What the f**k is going on?”, there is a solid story, the film is thoroughly enjoyable and ultimately they are definitely comparable.
On balance however you would have to say that the Green Zone is lacking in the depth of story (despite the fact that it’s current affairs-related) as you really never get to know much about any of the characters other than what they are doing at the time — but this really is a good film, and you won’t even register the two hours that pass.
A solid 3.5 out of 5 from me!