Review: Green Zone

Matt Damon comes under fire while searching for the truth in Iraq War actioner  Green Zone .
Matt Damon comes under fire while searching for the truth in Iraq War actioner Green Zone .

**** (M)

Director: Paul Greengrass.

Cast: Matt Damon, Greg Kinnear, Brendan Gleeson, Jason Isaacs, Khalid Abdalla, Yigal Naor, Amy Ryan.

THE Iraq War may be still going, but the quality films about the conflict are already coming in.

While Green Zone hasn't drawn the kudos The Hurt Locker has received, it's still a worthwhile addition to the growing pile of modern war films.

Damon, reteaming with his Bourne Supremacy and Ultimatum director, stars as Roy Miller, a US soldier leading one of the teams searching for WMDs in Iraq. When he realises they don't exist, he decides instead to go searching for the truth.

While Miller's story is a fictitious one, the script by Brian Helgeland strikes hard at the sad truth about America's reasons for going to war.

But because this is largely an action-thriller, we get this truth through broad strokes amid explosions. Kinnear's Pentagon officer represents the duplicitious government, Ryan's Wall Street journalist is the unwittingly complicit media, Gleeson's CIA operative is the doubting factions of the US, and Abdalla is the put-upon Iraqi people dragged along for the ride.

It's story-telling at its simplest perhaps, but with such an intriguing story to tell, it's worth the ride, even though we already know the destination.

In summarising a complex issue while framing it as a lean-and-mean actioner, Green Zone works incredibly well, and Greengrass' handheld camerawork in the clinches ramps up the tension in between the necessary plot developments.

The characters are broad and poorly defined perhaps, but this film should be admired for its desire to bring the US government's deceit to light in a stridently populist manner.

Sadly, Green Zone, like The Hurt Locker, fared poorly at the box office - Iraq War fatigue set in long before it started to get fictionalised, but this case of Jason Bourne goes to Baghdad is well worth a look.