The basics: Matt Damon plays Roy Miller,a warrant officer leading teams on tactical missions to discover the weapons of mass destruction we all now know were never there.
My thoughts: If you're been paying attention for long here, you know I'm not a big fan of war films (the notable exception, of course, being The Messenger, which is both the best war film I've seen and the best film of 2009.) I almost always enjoy Matt Damon, and his films with Paul Greengrass have been smart, action thrillers, so I was still eager to see this film.
Green Zone take place, not surprisingly, in the Green Zone of Iraq. It's a contemporary war film, a genre that often has trouble gaining traction. If you're a person who goes to movies to escape reality, then you probably don't read my blog; if you're a person who goes to movies to gain a deeper understanding of the world, contemporary or not, and also to be entertained, then you might just find yourself in love with this film. It's the perfect combination of entertainment and intelligence. At times it seems like an action film, at times it's a political thriller and at times it's an underdog tale of a soldier trying to do right.
Despite all the acclaim for The Hurt Locker, I thought it was rather mediocre. It was suspenseful, sure, but it didn't get at the heart of the issues of war and journalism I wish it had. Green Zone fills that void. It's gritty, suspenseful and has a strong point of view. There were times I wanted to cheer on Miller as loudly as I did during Fair Game (my review.) Green Zone doesn't hide from the realities of war or the realities of this war.
The verdict: Green Zone is packed with action, intelligence and heart. It's become my favorite war film (The Messenger is still my favorite film about the effects of war, a subtle difference), and I wish it found a wider audience to appreciate it's impressive combination of entertainment, education and escapism.
Rating: 5 stars (out of 5 stars)
Release date: It's on dvd now.
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