72 of 81 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "Don't be naive." Mostly made and vetted with soldiers who were in Iraq (...but the blu-ray's not worth it)
Look at the comments and reviews for Hurt Locker here; there are dozens of soldiers pointing out how unreal so much of that film is, and how a real soldier wouldn't do much of what that film shows. Now look at the reviews and comments for Green Zone. I see exactly one soldier who thought it was unrealistic...and then only in how Damon's character...
Published on August 26, 2010 by K. Swanson
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Based on a true story? "Don't be naive."
I don't quite know how to sum Green Zone up. It's not a bad movie by any means, but I don't think I could recommend it to everyone either. Green Zone marks the third collaboration of director Paul Greengrass and Matt Damon. The two of them are responsible for two of my favorite films, The Bourne Supremacy and The Bourne Ultimatum. It's safe to say they know each other...
Published on July 9, 2012 by RJ Smoove
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72 of 81 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "Don't be naive." Mostly made and vetted with soldiers who were in Iraq (...but the blu-ray's not worth it),
This review is from: Green Zone [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
Look at the comments and reviews for Hurt Locker here; there are dozens of soldiers pointing out how unreal so much of that film is, and how a real soldier wouldn't do much of what that film shows. Now look at the reviews and comments for Green Zone. I see exactly one soldier who thought it was unrealistic...and then only in how Damon's character steps over the political line of not doing what he's ordered to.
Almost all the soldiers in the film were in Iraq, and they made the decisions on the set about how the battle and other army scenes went. The head consultant, Monty Gonzales, was the guy who did in Iraq what Damon does here: look for WMDs. And for those who call this movie propaganda, he says on the extra doc here that he knew there were no WMDs after his first mission looking for them; Damon takes three missions to decide. So is that real-life soldier a liberal Hollywood propaganda plant? I don't think so.
Looking at this film purely technically, it's got one huge flaw: the hand-held cams are way too shaky. That makes it hard to watch with enjoyment at times. I'm pretty tired of handheld=real; that equation's over and done with by now. Let it go, directors. A spice, yes; a main dish, no. Here it just distracts and detracts.
Damon is pretty good, and the soldiers all said in interviews that they believed him as their chief after two days, so they'd know best. The film feels real, no doubt, and it's a good (not great) thriller, political considerations aside. If you're looking for a war movie, this is a decent one. But avoid the blu-ray; the movie was shot in a very grainy way to make it seem more real, and the dvd gets that across just as well for less coin.
Now let's talk about the story. The truth is, we never did find any WMDs in Iraq, and the intel does look in hindisght to be false. Gonzales, the real soldier in charge of looking for them here, says so himself. Or do you know better than him? He points out that this is a fictional film in an online article he wrote after the film, and obviously that's true. Damon's character could never do what he did here and get away with it. Yet neither would the CIA be as upstanding as they appear here, and willing to fight Bush's White House (Abu Ghraib comes to mind). So it cuts both ways, for those who call this liberal propaganda.
Let's be honest: almost everything around this "war" when it was going on was neocon propaganda, and they are the folks who own the defense companies who've made hundreds of billions from all this. Not many liberals are war profiteers, you can at least give them that. So if they want to create their own clearly fictional movie about the war, let them. I'm neither lib nor hawk; I just think we're lied to daily by both sides, dems and reps. I don't trust ANY of 'em.
But I have no issues with watching a movie like this and considering its ideas. If you truly love democracy, you need to hear all three sides of any (war) story: yours, mine, and the truth. From that vantage point, I like this movie more than Hurt Locker. Although it claimed to be apolitical, and "just showed soldiers doing their jobs", how can you possibly separate soldiering and morality? That's like saying the German soldiers who rounded up folks with yellow stars and sent them to the showers had no complicity. Come on. At some point we all have to make decisions as to what we're willing to do for our families, our countries, and the human race in general. Isn't that a big part of what America, and the whole old Hollywood John Wayne/Clint Eastwood mythos, is all about?
That's what makes Green Zone interesting; it goes where Hurt Locker was afraid to go. It lets soldiers make moral decisions. Realistic or not, it's a very thought-provoking idea, and since when is thinking deeply about a war that cost us a trillion dollars, and so much more vitally cost hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqis their lives, since when is it wrong to really consider how honest and right the entire war was? Never, I'd say. I want all sides of the picture. Which is why we hear so little about Afghanistan: the money is rolling in for the contractors, and the less we think about that, and what we're really achieving over there, the better for the war profiteers. War is great business, and once you get one going, it's a gravy train (if not for liberals, those poor suckers).
Let's be honest: if we really love our soldiers, why do we want to put them in harm's way? Why do we treat them like trash once they've lost limbs for us and come home to be homeless in many cases? Do we really care about them as people, or do we just want them to die for us so we can wave the flag and feel noble and proud? These are questions that rarely get asked, and any movie that addresses them is worth watching.
As the vet from Iraq who lives next to me says: if we truly love American soldiers, why are we sending them off to die in order to to rebuild other countries, when we're not rebuilding our own? One line here resonates over and over as we watch our country go bankrupt behind this war, for no apparent reason but greed: "Don't be naive."
The Green Zone asks those tough questions, and for that it's worth watching.
184 of 214 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Top Quality Movie...But I'm Still Recovering From Motion Sickness...Ugh!,
When the credits rolled this afternoon, a gentlemen sitting behind me had to take a deep breath. "Man, I'm just worn out from watching the movie." I agreed with him.
This movie has all the excitement of the Jason Bourne series: hot action scenes, great sound editing, a tight script, a stellar soundtrack and excellent acting by everyone in the film, and I mean everyone!
But I couldn't handle all the camera shakes. In fact, half the movie is like this. I understand Hollywood is lately using hand-carried, un-dollyed camera techniques to create the sense of chaos and panic in a film, but this was just too much. It was like being on a roller coaster ride with the scene moving violently and not you. I regretted eating that pack of Skittles just before the film started. When I got home, I simply had to lie down for an hour.
It's a shame because the story is brilliant, and I love Matt Damon's strong acting style. If you're a fan of the Jason Bourne films, this is right up your alley, but you might want to bring a vomit bag with you. Then again...maybe not.
I was puzzled why Green Zone didn't do so well at the Box Office on its opening weekend; now, I understand why. It's not the film...it's the filming.
Wonderful, wonderful story, but it's just nauseating to watch...literally. Too bad.
I'm glad the movie wasn't in 3D. I wouldn't be able to handle it.
55 of 65 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars U.S. wagging the dog,
It seems that people in general are growing weary of any contemporary war stories. Green Zone was marketed as another slick action thriller, but it still sort of flopped at the box office. I was prepared for another simple, high octane popcorn flick with plenty of explosives and bullets whizzing by. But there is a much greater purpose here than to merely entertain. Director Paul Greengrass is sending out a startling message that hits with ferocious power. Packed with tremendous performances, this gets my vote for the surprise action movie of the year.
Matt Damon stars as Roy Miller, a Chief Warrant Officer on the hunt for Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq. His frustration continues to mount as each search comes up empty. At a debriefing, he questions the intel that keeps sending his crew on these wild goose chases. His leaders seem pretty disinterested.
Here's where the story gets complex, plus totally fascinating. Loyalties and trust start to dissolve as Miller realizes he needs to take a different approach in order to make any progress. He secretly works with a CIA agent and a Iraqi local in order to track down Al Rawi, one of Saddam's evil henchmen.
The story advances in a gripping, believable fashion. I especially loved the general points this movie made about the media coverage. It is revealed that some well-respected news sources might have the facts equivalent of the tabloids. But still the public gobbles up whatever they are serving, without any second thoughts. The truth is often distorted and subjective.
Green Zone has some intense action, and utilizes the hand held camera movement in order to capture the chaos and confusion of the war. Although dizzying and ultra violent in some parts, really the pacing here is pretty controlled as it builds the story. It makes some profound points that are hard to disregard. Some thought provoking questions about the war. Questions about out leaders, reasons, strategies, and consequences. Melding fact and fiction, Greengrass studied intensively about the entire situation in the Middle East. This movie is his springboard for voicing his conclusions. He isn't preaching, he's providing answers and opinions.
Michael Moore called this "the most honest film about the Iraqi War made by Hollywood." Overall, I enjoyed this film more than last year's Oscar winner The Hurt Locker.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Based on a true story? "Don't be naive.",
This review is from: Green Zone [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
I don't quite know how to sum Green Zone up. It's not a bad movie by any means, but I don't think I could recommend it to everyone either. Green Zone marks the third collaboration of director Paul Greengrass and Matt Damon. The two of them are responsible for two of my favorite films, The Bourne Supremacy and The Bourne Ultimatum. It's safe to say they know each other well. Greengrass has made his position on the 9/11 conspiracy crystal clear with United 93 and this film. He also did a great job at letting Damon take charge and drive this film home. He gave a strong performance, and that goes without saying Damon stepped right into his standard issue military boots, and everything from then on felt so authentic, that I believed he could really be in the military. He was even surrounded by real-life soldiers, and he fit in to perfection. He plays U.S. Army Sergeant Miller, who after being sent on various dead end missions, decides to go against his orders and discover the truth as to what's really going on with the supposed Weapons of Mass Destruction that the U.S. went to war with Iraq for in the first place. That is already a bit of a touchy subject, and I think that's really where I could not connect with the film. I want to really like it a lot, but I just know that some people are actually going to believe the fictional story. So that's why I think that this movie is trying to make too bold of a statement for what it is, which is false.
Not to sound too negative though, because I did enjoy it. Admittedly, I felt like the film was too political at first. I just couldn't appreciate its strong anti-Iraqi War message. It's obviously propaganda, but my struggle was accepting that this was a fictional point of view. The reason why it was a struggle is because of how uncertain we, as American citizens, are in regards to what all is true, and what's false, in regards to the events of 9/11 and the War on Terror. Don't get me wrong. I'm in no way a supporter of the war or certain decisions that were made by Bush's administration, but I wouldn't be so quick to jump on the bandwagon and make accusations like this film seems to. Considering the simple fact that Green Zone is a fictitious story, I opened my mind and enjoyed it for what it is. It's a bold political thriller that's not afraid to tell a controversial story, and towards the end it becomes basically an action flick with a long stretch of suspense in the dark, and bullets flying left and right. Green Zone is essentially a hybrid of Body of Lies and The Hurt Locker (if the focus was on Spec Ops, rather than EODs). It actually succeeds for the most part, but like many people's complaints about Avatar, the political message is so overwhelming that it's kind of hard to enjoy the film on any other level. I would still recommend giving it a look.
The Blu-ray has a top notch transfer, with reference audio. My biggest complaint are the typical murky dark scenes, which there are a lot of. I love film grain. It gives me a peace of mind that the people who worked on the disc didn't doctor it up to cater to those who have no idea what real film should look like. So needless to say, this movie looked fantastic to me on Blu-ray because it's loaded with grain. Funny thing is, when I first saw it at the theater, it was before I was as into film as I am now, so I too thought it looked pretty bad. Now that I have a better understanding, I get the whole gritty feel Grengrass intended. That doesn't take away from the fact that heavy grain hurts dark scenes. So in this case, the nighttime scenes may look blurry to some, but there should really be no problem making out details. Now on a DVD, that would be another story, but on Blu-ray, I think they look fine. The sound is sure to rock a house or two. Sound effects are perfectly scattered throughout the battlefield when bullets are flying and bombs are going off. There's a helicopter crash in the third act that sums it all up quite well. The extras are nothing to write home about, but we do get a nice commentary that can be listened to like the average track, or watched as a Picture-in-Picture. There are also a couple of sub-10 minute featurettes that briefly adress Damon and Greengrass's connection to the subject matter, as well as a few soldiers talking about the experience being in the film, and acting alongside Matt Damon. I think most people would love Green Zone, but I happen to fall closer to the middle. I definitely recommend the Blu-ray though.
12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent iraq War movie,
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Green Zone (Amazon Instant Video)
I was a little unsure after reading these reviews if I should rent this movie.
It totally exceeded my expectations as I found it thrilling, provocative and informative.
I think a lot of the negative reviews come from people not wanting to get this movie as it reveals the underbelly of our industrial war complex and our unquenchable thirst for petroleum.
Rent it if you want to be entertained on a more cerebral level.
Don't rent it you're looking for the usual America tears 'em a new one story line.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Must See Political/Action Thriller,
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This was a fantastic movie that really captures the heart of the tragedy that is the war in Iraq part two. I was disturbed and reminded by the facts that led America into an unnecessary war. I think the movie studio's money was well spent creating such a gripping picture. This movie should have been marketed as both a political and action thriller flick based on a true story that is quickly being forgotten after a decade of bloodshed.
Jason Bourne in Iraq speaking the truth about America's horrific mistakes.
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dares to Tell The Truth About WMD's,
It seems as though everything breaks down along political lines these days, even movie reviews on Amazon. Right wingers say this movie is liberal pablum. Left wingers who say that this movie tells the truth that we all knew anyway. But they don't review the film.
So since none of us are David Denby or Anthony Lane, here goes a super brief review:
Matt Damon delivers a purposeful, severe and gritty performance. He doesn't smile once in any scene.
The action sequences are also predictably grim.
Greg Kinnear gives his first bad-guy performance, and he is quite believable.
And then there's Igal Naor, who did such an amazing job of playing Saddam Hussein on the HBO miniseries, shines as General Al Rawi, the man who was "misquoted" about WMD's at a Jordan meeting just prior to Shock and Awe.
The direction by Paul Greengrass is slick and chase oriented, as he did so well in the 'Bourne Ultimatum.'
Regardless how you feel about the Iraqi war, this movie will move you emotionally.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fiction overshadowed the Non-Fiction,
I expected Green Zone to track more closely to the book upon which the movie was based; "Green Zone, Imperial Life in the Emerald City", and indictment of the Paul Bremer time in Iraq. Instead the movie's focus was on Matt Damon's character and his team of WMD searchers, which was a minor part of the book. The movie perfectly captured the chaos in Iraq at the opening stages of the war as American troops captured Baghdad, and proceeded to consolidate their presence in Iraq. The handheld camera technique emphasized the way unplanned events unfold and the need to plan on the fly as obstacles present themselves. This movie probably captures the feeling of war as well as any movie. Matt Damon is excellent in his role as a chief warrant officer who takes his job seriously and knows when he is getting a lot of b.s. from his superiors. The cast is uniformly excellent and again the movie captures the tension that existed between the CIA and the Defense Department over the authenticity of the information supplied regarding WMD's in Iraq. The CIA was getting it's information from a former Iraqi general in charge of the WMD program whereas the Defense Department was getting its information from a guy code named "curveball" whom even German intelligence said was unreliable. The movie version consolidated the informant into one character, the Iraqi general. There really was a huge disconnect between the civilian political operatives as depicted by the character Poudstone and the military grunts depicted by Damon. Donald Rumsfeld set up is own intelligence operation because he did not trust CIA intelligence or because the CIA was not telling him what he wanted to hear. The movie made it perfectly clear that the CIA and the Defense Department did not get along. I highly recommend this movie since it was not only entertaining but at least 50-75% true account of what happened during that period of time in Iraq.
17 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Hurt Locker, Watergate, and a spy story rolled into one!,
I'm glad I finished the movie and made it past the opening jittery hand held camera action scene. Matt Damon is an amazing actor and despite his good looks is believable as "Chief". Chief is a warrant officer on the hunt for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Chief gets caught in a situation of having to decide to just do his job or do what is right. If you can put aside the politics and view this film not as a message film, but entertaining and thought provoking, it's great! A fast paced action film that entertains and highlights underlying ethical issues. It shows enough of the human side of various characters and their sides to allow you to empathize with all the positions. The film does an excellent job of slowly unveiling the complexity of the issues. It makes it clear there are no easy answer. Yet the film ends with a simple conclusion for Chief's part of the story and lets hang the complexity and chaos of the larger problems.
28 of 38 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Matt Damon Jumps the Iraqi Shark,
The best scene in "Green Zone" is the first one: As the United States' "Shock and Awe" campaign grips Baghdad in 2003, an Iraqi general named Al Rawi, standing in the equivalent of a throne room, scribbles a final furious note before he's whisked away to safety. In the midst of this bombing, a plot seems to be forming. What is it? The general's party drives into the night, and director Paul Greengrass pulls back his camera to reveal the city under siege, as thin, orange spears of fire with gray mushroom tops dot the landscape, a few luxury trucks and cars skittering to some underground location.
It's a moment worthy of "Apocalypse Now," crossed with the political intrigue Greengrass captures with a journalist's detail. Amidst chaos - a story is afoot.
But what follows is an action movie in grad school loafers, packed to the gills with "authentic," technocratic details rushing across the lens of Greengrass' camera. "Green Zone" has a point in mind - that the U.S. government made up evidence of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction to invade the country and impose an America-friendly democracy in the Middle East - and the perfect liberal, All-American actor to carry out the mission in Matt Damon. In other words, it is a eight-minute read in the Sunday New York Times stretched out to two hours and populated with guns, helicopters, chases and Damon playing a Commando Will Hunting, a know-it-all gleam in his eyes.
Which isn't a problem if Greengrass had chosen to create a visual commentary that mirrored the movie's opening scene and stood apart from Brian Helgeland's screenplay, rather than running two inches off Damon's tail for the entire film. Or perhaps it's Helgeland heeling at the feet of Greengrass, who got to shoot this vanity project in exchange for considering to direct the fourth "Bourne" picture. Either way, it's another news story playing Iraqi War games, with a fantasy epilogue that frankly undercuts the enormity of America's con - if so you're inclined to believe there was one. "Green Zone" has not a moment of irony or levity - just cool, camo-colored outrage.
Damon is Roy Miller, a Chief Warrant Officer looking for WMD. We see a search raid complicated by looting; the unit finds nothing but pigeon poop. The intelligence is wrong, Miller announces during a briefing for a visiting general, who doesn't know or particularly care. But CIA agent Martin Brown (Brendan Gleeson, miscast) pulls Miller aside and hands him his card. Later, he'll recruit Miller for a mission to capture Al Rawi (Igor Naor) - one of Saddam Hussein's most brutal generals. But not to torture him.
Miller traces the WMD puzzle to a conflicted Wall Street Journal reporter (Amy Ryan) and finally some Bush administration lackey named Clark Poundstone, played by Greg Kinnear as one of those annoyed think-tank nerds who operates in a vacuum of buzz words and political ideals despite the war unfolding in front of him. Like most movies set during the second Iraq War, "Green Zone" supplies Miller with an Arabic sidekick, this one named Freddy (Khalid Abdulla), who serves as the "conscience of Iraq," interjecting mirthless platitudes about Iraqi self-determination. He's an essentially a gun that been introduced onstage; eventually, you know he'll go off.
"Green Zone" is complex, but not mysterious; we know where Miller is headed, and so do the characters in the movie, creating a kind of split-second photo finish. At times Greengrass presents military tracking technology as omniscient beyond reason; urban warfare is not really the video game the climax suggests. Damon proved during the "Bourne" trilogy that he's up for the physical challenge, but his Miller is irascible and smug in emotionally. His final salvo, via email, is followed by a shot of him looking resolute while riding off in the desert; it's patently ridiculous, given what's in that email - and what faces him when he returns from patrol.
On-location shoots in Spain, Morocco and England drove the film's budget to $100 million; Greengrass will be lucky to recoup half of that despite peddling ads during the Super Bowl. The movie was box-office poison, to the chagrin of some critics, and the delight of political conservatives. Commercial and critical considerations should rarely merge; indeed, they're often locked in a zero-sum game. But "Green Zone" belongs to a growing subset of war films rejected almost in reflex by moviegoers, who are unwilling to fork over a ten spot for a current affairs lesson. Funny, fickle folks that they are - they happen to be right about "Green Zone, which claims thriller status but, stripped down, is nothing more than a scolding. Whether America's earned a tongue lashing is no longer at question; rather - is there any great usefulness (or entertainment) in repeatedly seeing it?
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Green Zone [Blu-ray] by Paul Greengrass (Blu-ray - 2010)