Posted by: Dr P | March 21, 2010

The Green Zone

Anyone remember the classic scene in Airplane where the tannoy announcers at the airport start getting into a discussion while announcing what the red and white zones are for? Magnificent film making, that. Well, the Green Zone has nothing whatsoever to do with loading and unloading, but it is also magnificent film making.

Director Paul Greengrass and Matt Damon (who I’m NOT sleeping with, although it appears everyone else is) memorably teamed up to make the superb Bourne movies, and there’s more than a touch of Jason Bourne in Damon’s character Chief Roy Miller. Miller is leading up a US army crew on the hunt for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, but when the intelligence source apparently keeps leading them down false trails, Miller takes matters into his own hands in an attempt to work out what’s going on.

After yet another false lead, Miller is approached by an Iraqi who tells him there’s a secret meeting of some of Saddam’s former allies; this time the intelligence is genuine, but having retrieved what looks to be an important book from the group, a faction of US special forces soldiers arrive on the scene with hostile intentions toward anyone poking around in the intelligence chain. However, Miller smuggles the book away. To add to the confusion, Miller is also approached by CIA operative Martin Brown (Brendan Gleeson) who also wants the book, and appears to be acting directly against the special force contingent and their superior, the white house aide Clark (Greg Kinnear).

As Miller probes deeper into the intelligence, both real and fake, he uncovers what appears to be a widespread conspiracy to fabricate evidence and lead the country deeper into chaos. Tensions between the various factions mount and there’s a desperate power struggle as each group seeks to get its hands on the Iraqi book and its material.

This is a rollercoaster of a movie, with the action relentless for its entire duration. Greengrass is a master of the fast-paced action film, and in Damon he has a believable, tough actor capable of lighting up the screen. Kinnear and Gleeson play their roles well, while Jason Isaacs (*not* Jeremy Irons, Big G …) is also well cast as the sadistic special forces group commander.

One of the more intelligent and hectic war movies of recent times, and proof once again that Damon is right up there with the action big boys. Highly recommended!

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