During certain portions of “Green Zone,” it seemed that the project was only green-lighted when the relevancy of Oscar-giant “The Hurt Locker” was established. Riding under the assumption that Kathryn Bigelow’s war epic would win big at the academy awards — which it did — “Green Zone” would be released during prime time as the Iraq war genre would be newly rejuvenated. Of course, I’m not saying that this is what happened. In fact, I’m 100 percent certain that it didn’t; however, first impressions are everything in the world of cinema — especially when you are in the process of writing a review for said film.
Paul Greengrass and Matt Damon are usually a strong partnership. Greengrass has already directed “The Bourne Ultimatum” and “The Bourne Supremacy” with the talented actor and it’s the role of Jason Bourne that has established Damon’s chops as a action star. However, “Green Zone” exemplifies neither Greengrass’ or Damon’s talents and is over-simplistic, clichéd and ultimately unlikable.
The film chronicles the story of Chief Warrant Officer Roy Miller, played by Damon. He and his team are ordered to complete several raids looking for weapons of mass destruction and chemical weapons. However, upon further inspection at one of the alleged storage facilities, Miller finds clues of faulty and/or forged intelligence and this causes him to go rouge in the unstable region of the world.
The problem with Miller is that he expresses nothing but pure machismo. Even when he is taken hostage by enemy soldiers, he remains stoic. No expressions of nervousness plague him and though this makes for a passable action-hero, it also makes the character much more distant from the audience. Sometimes, it feels like Miller is just as soulless as his manipulating higher ups — a robotic soldier with no other motivation than just accomplishing his mission.
Surprisingly, “Green Zone” is very easy to follow, however, this is not good news for Greengrass’ latest endeavor. The film’s undeniably clichéd and formulaic, the screenplay by Brian Helgeland stumbles constantly and the plethora of bad performances do not help. Perhaps the most interesting part of the experience was to see Greengrass’ use of his signature “shaky camera” technique during the action sequences, but even these moments fall short.
It may be hard to deviate away from the green zone, but it is heavily advised to stay clear of its proximity.
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