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Customer Review

0 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting historical fiction - but read the book too., August 1, 2010
This review is from: Green Zone (DVD)
This movie takes place in the general time frame of April-May, 2003. This is the period just after the initial invasion as US officials began to start the work of stabilizing and rebuilding Iraq. Several key participants in that phase of the Iraq War are easily recognized. Paul Bremer head of the Coalition Provisional Authority is represented by the character Clark Poundstone, Judith Miller of the New York Times is represented by the character Lawrie Dayne and Ahmed Chalabi appears in the film in the form of Zubaidi. Viewers interested in how closely this film mirrors actual history should do some background reading on these individuals.

Near the top of the end credits we learn that the film was inspired by the book, "Imperial Life in the Emerald City" by Rajiv Chandrasekaran (Washington Post). This award winning book is a fascinating read and unlike most books of the period doesn't overreach with hype and a crusade for someone to demonize. Chandrasekaran's observant eye paints a realistic picture of the scene and the CPA's mostly flawed activities. And let's be clear, there is nothing partisan about finding fault with the CPA's execution of its mission because even the most loyal of Bush supporters have criticised the CPA. Newt Gingrich is quoted as saying, "Bremer is the largest single disaster in American foreign policy in modern times." Anyone interested in the period should read the book and other historical accounts.

The film does a decent job of reflecting the flavor of "Emerald City" with the absurdities and screw ups. Dominos pizza is served by the pool in the heart of Baghdad. American leadership hand picks a new Iraqi leader that has not lived in Iraq for decades and is predictably discredited by other Iraqi leaders. The army is prematurely disbanded along with many other major social institutions that might have helped organize the rebuilding.

The action is OK although I think the chase toward the end is bizarre. The resolution of the chase was interesting though with what Freddy does and says. It caps one of the main messages of the film.

The bits of preachiness and wacky plot contrivances are disappointments and I think they do an injustice to the book. But the film still delivers on some action and the big picture of what happened during the time. This is OK as an action/political thriller but this film is not a great one. Although based on real people and events, it is still fiction so one has to be careful about what details to absorb from it.

I'm glad I watched the film but I'm also glad I didn't buy it. Being based on a great book boosts this up to 3 stars from me. I hope it stirs debate and encourages Americans to read the book.
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Location: Chicago, IL

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