8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 28 May 2013
Three years after the huge success of the Bourne trilogy's final instalment, Paul Greengrass and his star Matt Damon returned with this conspiracy action thriller set just after the invasion of Iraq in 2003. It focuses on Damon and his team's searches for Weapons of Mass Destruction to no avail. It is as Damon begins to question his own side that he meets Brendan Gleeson's Middle East expert; who also suspects that something is not quite right. The second act of Greengrass' film is a cleverly constructed conspiracy thriller that sees Damon delve deeper into his leaders' secrets. This makes for gripping viewing despite the fact it is slightly predictable.
Having said that, if you are a fan of the high octane thrills that Damon and Greengrass delivered so well in The Bourne Supremacy and The Bourne Ultimatum then you will not be disappointed as Green Zone both begins and ends with trademark hand-held camera action. The climactic chase through seemingly endless alleyways perhaps goes on slightly too long but it nevertheless produces excitement and shock.
Damon's character is somewhat underwritten. It would have been nice to know of his own motives for joining the armed forces and a little bit of back-story but nevertheless he is a good hero to follow through the film. It is Gleeson and Greg Kinnear (as a high-up opponent to Gleeson and Damon's conspiracy theories) however, who provide the strong performances that help make Green Zone a thought-provoking political drama as well as just an action blockbuster.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Movie fans who like Paul Greengrass's handling of thrilling chase sequences in the Bourne movies that he directed won't be disappointed here. The last act of the movie follows the pursuit of an Iraqi general by two separate groups -- one that wants him dead and one that doesn't -- and it's quite marvelous how Greengrass keeps the pursuits clear enough in our minds, especially since we are talking about night-time military operations in an urban setting. There are lots of narrow passages, narrow streets, people dashing in and out of doors -- in fact, remarkably like the kind of thing that I saw in "The Adjustment Bureau," which also featured Matt Damon. But that movie was pure entertainment: here something is at stake, at least in the minds of the pursuers: nothing less than the future of Iraq, or rather, two competing versions of the future. Interestingly, the movie isn't simply favoring one of these over the other, as the end of the chase makes clear -- and in the interest of not spoiling that ending, I'll just leave it at that. But it is the characters' beliefs about what matters that does give weight to the chase, so that it's not an empty thrill. If it were, the movie could be legitimately be criticized as exploitation.
There's more to the movie than the chase, though. The first part is about Matt Damon's character, Chief Warrant Officer Roy Miller, realizing that the intelligence his troop is working with to enable them to find and secure WMD sites is useless -- and he begins to suspect that he and possibly American policy makers have been deliberately misled. In the Green Zone, the American HQ in central Baghdad, he finds that a high-level official, Clark Poundstone (Greg Kinnear, smoothly togged out in civvies) won't listen when he tells him that there seem to be no WMDs. The official clearly has one eye on pleasing his superiors in Washington and one on keeping the news media believing the WMD story. He insists that the WMDs are there and that Miller just needs to look harder. Also in the Green Zone is a CIA officer -- a long time Middle East hand called Martin Brown (Brendan Gleeson, all rumpled authenticity) -- who already deeply suspects that there are no WMDs and who is sympathetic to Miller's frustrations. The movie does a good job in suggesting the contrast between the comfort and seeming efficiency of bureaucracy in the Zone and the chaos in the Baghdad streets and the ugliness in the prisons. It's possible to see things getting a little schematic here -- the real conflict in the movie isn't between Americans and Iraqis but between bureaucratic American types whose main interest is PR and people whose ears are closer to the ground, like Miller and Brown, who can't see a stable Iraq being built if the reasons for going to war aren't good ones. As characters, then, the Americans tend to be simply morally categorized to an extent that they are pretty one-dimensional as characters. Interestingly, the more complicated characters are Iraqi -- Miller's translator Freddy (Khalid Abdalla) and the Iraqi general Al Rawi (Yigal Naor) -- and their parts are very convincingly taken. However, Damon, Kinnear, Gleeson and Amy Ryan (as a Wall Street Journal reporter who has pushed the suspect WMD story as fact) are all fine -- if their characters are flatter, that's how they're written, and the actors work hard to make them credible, and they succeed.
Is the movie just liberal propaganda, as some reviewers who rank it low believe? I don't think so -- the facts of the origins of the war were beyond partisan dispute by the time this movie was released in 2008. Obviously, the pushers of the WMD story don't look good, but you don't have to be a political partisan see the damage they did. The larger question that hangs over the movie is the one of who should be responsible for the reconstruction, supposing that that is achievable -- a question still very much in doubt as I write in 2014. So --yes, the movie does simplify and flatten some things, but it doesn't trivialize the conflict and the issues, and it is very well made and well acted.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Matt Damon' teams up again with director 'Paul Greengrass'( Bourne) to bring us this exciting and perhaps relevent war story.
'Chief Miller' (Matt Damon) leads a unit in the search for 'Saddam's' 'WMD' just a few weeks into the 'IRAQ' war.
Site after Site comes up empty, which begins to make 'Miller' suspicIous of the motives of the conflict.
When a Iraq citizen offers help to find members of 'The Pack of Cards' obstacles and intimidation from his own side leads 'Miller' to uncover a truth, and conspiracy, that the 'u.s' public should not hear ?
This film is 'action-packed' and fast moving , i was well pleased with my purchase of the film........well worth adding to your collection.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 16 April 2013
Matt Damon and director Paul Greengrass prove again that they were made for each other in this action packed thriller.had this film for ages and just not got round to watching it.i was almost constantly on the edge of my seat with the tension.great story and great cast.if you want a good solid action movie with an actual narrative to drive it then you could do a lot worse.must see film.
68 of 84 people found the following review helpful
I thought this was a good roller coaster of a film - However I did not try to read too much into it, I just treated it as another Matt Damon blockbuster vehicle. In this regard it worked for me. If you are looking for an epic film on a scale of Apocalypse Now or Platoon etc then this is not for you. If however you are looking for something to relax to on a Saturday night it works pretty well.
Much has been made of this film versus 'The Hurt Locker'. I watched them back to back and to be honest, other than the fact that they feature and are set in Iraq, I found them two very different films.
If you like slick, thriller style, movies then I think this will work for you. If you are looking for something that perhaps digs deeper than that then I am not sure if this is what you are looking for.
I hope this review was of use to you:)
on 14 July 2015
Disappointing, in a word. If you remember Matt at his finest in the Bourne trilogy, The Adjustment Bureau, Ocean's 11,12 &13 and The Good Shepherd (I cannot attest to his other films) then this is disappointing. I do not think he lets the film down himself but the script is lackluster, direction is all over the place and the story line is dull. Not one of his best. You may enjoy it but all I am saying is I approached this film expecting a typical Matt Damon all action film, in fact I found it dull, flat and not the least engaging. I do not like film critics myself (which is ironic considering that is exactly what I'm doing here) but I am just saying approach this film with no preconceptions of a Matt Damon film. Seen any of the above then avoid, if not then watch this then see Matt at his best in Bourne etc. etc.
on 6 December 2014
Surprisingly good movie. Normally anything American to do with wars is a turn off to anyone outside of the USA, but on this occasion Matt Damon carried the part perfectly and I found myself forgetting that my children will probably suffer later on in life thanks to gung ho war mongers in real life. Good acting, good plot, good action and dialogue. Damon has a rare ability of keeping me entertained for the duration due to his talent of actually not trying to pertain that he is a superhero. The only other guy I can liken him to is Denzel Washington for his talents. Good movie, you'll enjoy it.