Thursday, July 1, 2010

Green Zone (2010)


Frustrated by constantly coming up empty at possible WMD sites, warrant officer Roy Miller (Matt Damon) begins investigating the source behind their intel. Though just as he begins, Miller quickly finds out there's far more going on than meets the eye.

Let's be honest, I think the American public have made it rather clear that no matter how much you amp up the action, and names, most are not interested in dealing with Iraq, or Afghanistan, anymore than necessary. It's not aided much when the film you're trying to sell them covers ground so tread on it literally sinks several feet below the surrounding territory.

So if you're going to go that route you know you're going to have to try and give them something they haven't seen before. Green Zone, for all intensive purposes, doesn't.

What it does do is tie a plot together with the thinnest of strings and hopes to hell you don't pull anymore. Constantly trying to keep you on your feet with the Greengrass super shakey cam, while presenting you with decent action scenes, some discussion on the morality of war, and a few "evil" characters to dislike.

Imagine The Hurt Locker, minus the character, plus a lot more running. Sure there's an intensity to the situation, and sure there's a sentiment of heart to the story, but it's all for not if you can't bring it together. Greengrass, Helgeland, and company don't. Trying so hard to make the film bigger than it is, while avoiding any real attack, they manage to get a passable effort by, without anything for the viewer to bite into.

It's hollow in its best moments, and it never escapes that restraint. Pushing itself to give more action, more politics, the film just waddles until the end. An end that most of us could call for more than a half hour in. I admire for what it tries to do, wants to present, and mean to the viewer. But like a bad salesman it presents you with all the sidestory, and not the product. Hoping that by glossing it over with sentiments of morality, and an "all American" lead, you'll accept the end, regardless of how it gets you there.

Despite the best of intentions, Green Zone quickly loses sight of its own goal, and spends the rest of the film trying to get back there. Stuck in the muddy waters of cliche characters, uninspired plot points, and generic sequences meant to dazzle. While at the same time trying to push a message, it simply doesn't have the depth to back up.

9 better thoughts:

Dan (Top10Films) said...

Bit of a shame. I haven't seen this but I was one of the few who didn't think much of the Bourne series. So this doesn't come as a suprise.

Candice Frederick said...

really?? i liked this movie MUCH better than the hurt locker (which i have yet to understand the buzz about).

TheAnswerMVP2001 said...

I have no opinion on this one because Netflix hasn't released it for rent yet... am I beginning to sound like a broken record yet?

TS Hendrik said...

I had intended to watch it but the further I got away from it's theatrical release, the less interest I had in it. Still I'll probably give it a whirl when it hits cable.

Andrew: Encore Entertainment said...

Hmmm, really have to disagree on this. Perhaps it doesn't irk me because I'm not American and have little interest in the Iraqi/American dynamic. Still, on the basest of levels the movie works well, and with its intentions it seems a bit more profound. A bit journalistic, but well intentioned at least.

Danny King said...

I agree with you that this film doesn't delve into its characters as well as "The Hurt Locker" does, but "Green Zone" had a lot of the same feeling of suspense for me. I was surprised at how gripped I was for the entire running time.

Univarn said...

@Dan well it seems I'm in the minority on this one, though I do love the Bourne films.

@Candice That's because you have horrible taste in movies :P. I kid I kid. I enjoy characters blended with action, and Hurt Locker just nailed that aspect for me.

@TS I'd say it's a good cable viewing.

@Andrew I'd agree its "intentions" are profound, I just think it falls about 5 miles short of hitting it. All the pieces are there, there's just nothing to support it. The story is a 10 minute piece dragged out for 2 hours of high intensity running.

@Danny I don't think many modern directors handle tension as well as Greengrass, but to me this was a misguided effort from the get-go. Too many places it wants to be, no patience to get there, and so it just settles.

Lemmy Caution said...

I'd seen many glowing reviews of this flick. Watched it the other day and was underwhelmed. The whole thing was familiar and fairly generic. Quite frankly, it made me want to watch The Hurt Locker again.

Dan said...

Having now seen the film I totally agree with your review. I'm beginning to think Greengrass is rather overrated. He has technical flair but, as you say, the film lacks character or depth. The story is based on something everybody knows already so it isn't like some big expose or anything, and with the likes of The Hurt Locker and other, much better films about Iraq out there (Three Kings), Green Zone is destined to sink quietly into the background.

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