GREEN ZONE (Paul Greengrass, 2010)
Opens Friday, March 12
Paul Greengrass, who teamed up with Matt Damon on the last two Bourne movies and made the excellent UNITED 93, is back with Damon for GREEN ZONE, an Iraq War thriller that is ultimately as misguided as America’s decision to attack Iraq in the first place. Damon stars as Roy Miller, the head of a unit that is using information from the Pentagon to find WMD. But after a third straight mission that comes up empty and costs lives, Miller begins questioning the intel, opening his mouth to his superiors and soon finding himself in the middle of a government conspiracy being protected by administration official Clark Poundstone (Greg Kinnear). While unwitting Wall Street Journal reporter Lawrie Dayne (Amy Ryan) keeps writing about the WMD, Miller gets help from CIA agent Martin Brown (Brendan Gleeson), who smells a big fat rat. Inspired by Rajiv Chandrasekaran’s book IMPERIAL LIFE IN THE EMERALD CITY, the story, though set in 2003, feels much older, tackling a situation that has long since been dealt with. GREEN ZONE lacks surprises and even devolves into the ridiculous in the second half, which includes a chase scene pretty much just so the movie can have a chase scene. Screenwriter Brian Helgeland, who did such a terrific job adapting L.A. CONFIDENTIAL, continues his streak of overwrought work; he is also responsible for such tripe as the remake of THE TAKING OF PELHAM 123, the overrated MYSTIC RIVER, and the just plain awful MAN ON FIRE, BLOOD WORK, and THE POSTMAN. Although it begins with promise, GREEN ZONE ends up being a disappointing piece of leftist propaganda, too little, too late.