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3.9 out of 5 stars
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3.9 out of 5 stars
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on 8 August 2014
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.
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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.
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VINE VOICEon 20 September 2010
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:)
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on 11 July 2016
I am not interested in the DVD’s content, only in whether it contains English subtitles for the deaf. A simple solution is to display the back of the DVD case where this information is shown. If you wish to help, please email Amazon asking for the rear of the DVD case to be displayed. Thank you.
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on 11 October 2010
If you like what we're constantly being told these days is the more "realistic" (yeah, right!) type of action movie because it's supposedly more "intense" (i.e. fast, choppy edits, shaky hand-held camera work, grainy lighting, barely being unable to tell what's going on beyond that there's "some folks fighting / running" etc. etc.) then you'll love this trainwreck of a movie from Mr. Shakycam himself Paul Greengrass.

If on the other hand you like to actually see what's happening and who's doing what and where, don't waste your time.

The sooner this lazy, slapdash filming style craze dies a death, the better. The sooner pretentious film critics suffering from "Emperor's New Clothes" syndrome stop bigging it up, the better also. Because surely it must be time now - it's been with us for long enough. I got suckered into this one, but am avoiding "The Hurt Locker" like the plague for the exact same reason.
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on 9 December 2015
The pace never lets up in this film which is set immediately following the fall of Saddam Hussein's Iraq, as the weapons inspection team, led by Mat Damon, seek the fabled WMD. It's all there. The misery, the confusion, the politics, the plotting, the despair and finally, the realization that 'we were had'.
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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.
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on 25 February 2015
Good story and well acted but it's ruined by the amateur camera work, the action scenes are totally spoiled by excessive jerky camera movements which make you feel quite nauseous and the editing is in the extreme, the camera cuts about 3 or 4 times per second and for me this ruined what could have been a very good war film.
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on 3 March 2013
Although most people are against this film as they argue that the chacacters are under developed which they are a little, I still enjoyed the action in it. It was a shame that they didnt give more of an insite to Matt Damon's character, like why did he deside to join the army and why was he so intent on getting this mission complete. I wanted to know just a little bit more about the Chacacters and its a shame that they didnt inform us more about them. The first time I watched it thought that it was brilliant as I am very into millitary/espionage/action genre's in films and TV. I thought that although Matt Damon is defently my favorite Actor, this film didnt seem to do him any justice, Although this film is directed by Paul Greengrass who is the director of the Bourne series, which matt Damon stars in, and is a very famous and good series, I think that personally it did him no justice!

-Green Zone [DVD]Discovering covert and faulty intelligence causes a U.S. Army officer to go rogue as he hunts for Weapons of Mass Destruction in an unstable region.
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I was looking forward to this film, like everyone else I enjoyed the Bourne films. This really is no Bourne 3 or 4 depending on how you count them (Doug Liman rather than Greengrass directed the first one).

There is the signature shakey camera work which must have made the CGI pretty difficult to do, and does detract from what could have been some epic looking scenes, for example driving under the famous crossed scimitars.

There are various problems, the characterisation is paper thin, Damon basically acts impassive, Gleason is a welcome addition but does not have much to do. There is no one much we care for or about. Despite being set in Iraq, there are only a couple of Iraqi characters who get to do more than say a few lines, this does not feel like a film about war or Iraq, it feels like a film about a heroic American putting the world to rights.

I suspect that pressures of making an expensive film meant toning down any criticism of US foreign policy, and for non US audiences the film is likely to come across as trite and facile. Even the most conservative of audiences are likely to wonder why exactly Damon is chasing about everywhere. The plot ties itself in knots as it is obvious that no matter how bad the couple of American bad apples that are solely responsible for everything are, Damon is never likely to shoot either of them. Although one of them does look awfully like Bono, which is should be grounds enough for shooting him.

The treatment of the native Iraqi seems particularly insensitive, they just seem to be there to provide some local colour, and get shot. The fact that an Iraqi prisoner is tortured and beaten to death does not seem to unduly disturb anyone, similarly the indiscriminate bombing of a city or innocent citizens near riot for lack of water.

This is not a trashy A-Team put your brain in neutral film, instead it trivialises what should be a major concern for this century, how to effect regime change in a humane manner.

This is an ill judged and insensitive film, it is not surprising that it it has failed to find a significant audience.
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