2010 // USA //Paul Greengrass // April 3, 2010 // Theatrical Print (AMC West Olive)
C+ - In Green Zone, Paul Greengrass employs his relentless, You-Are-There approach to action film-making to establish a liberal, skeptical cinematic counter-myth to the corrupted, calcifying historical Iraq War narrative. This loose adaptation of Imperial Life in the Emerald City is justly cynical about the 2003 invasion. However, Greengrass' fictionalized take on the subject diminishes the real lies and crimes behind the war. While journalists from Thomas Ricks to Greg Palast are still searching for the truth, Greengrass seems content with a pat conclusion that casts his film as a kind of anti-war First Blood. At least Greengrass is a sufficient talent to render the enterprise stirring, and Green Zone throbs with the same searing momentum as the director's Bourne installments. One barely gets a moment to breathe as the film's (all-too-believable) conspiracy unravels. Greengrass' imagery of fiery, war-shattered Iraq is both jarring and gnawingly familiar, and Damon is working at the peak of his tough-guy powers. However, artful thrills can't mask the formulaic outline to the proceedings—Will Greg Kinnear's slimy Pentagon bureaucrat get his comeuppance?—or the sense that this subject deserves better. Seven years on, the definitive film about the Iraq War is still In the Loop.