Green Zone (2010)

If Jason Bourne suddenly turned into Rambo.

U.S. Defense Intelligence Agent Clark Poundstone (Greg Kinnear) doesn’t want to hear what Army Chief Warrant Officer Roy Miller (Matt Damon) has to say about not finding the weapons of mass destruction — evidence that could launch a war — he’s been sent to Iraq to unearth. Why the cover-up?

Director Paul Greengrass has teamed up with Matt Damon many of times on the big-screen with the Jason Bourne films, and as this film does look like a “Jason Bourne goes to Iraq” picture, it never gets as cool as it was going to look.

Probably my problem with this film was that it’s camera was all over the place. Greengrass is known for using hand-held cameras to create this realistic and gritty feel, but there are parts where this film gets so shaky, that I had to actually advert my eyes away from the screen just so I wouldn’t puke. There was also many moments where I couldn’t even tell what was going on. The action was good, especially by the last 15 minutes, but there wasn’t enough to keep me watching.

Green Zone’s writing is also kind of lame. I wish there was a little bit more poignancy to this film, rather than just all this military talk, and war battle sequences. We never get a real message, or even insight into the life of a soldier here, and that kind of took me away from this film, because then I just saw this as being an action thriller and nothing else, even though it was trying to be more.

Sometimes when you see certain actors in a role that Matt Damon is in, they just aren’t believable but he does a great job. Whether he’s questioning superiors, or giving orders, Matt Damon sounds completely natural speaking in the language of a militarist. He doesn’t try to be too cute, he just acts like an action movie star should. Greg Kinnear is basically the main bad-guy in this film, and does a good job but he doesn’t get that many scenes to prove it, which kind of bummed me out cause I was just waiting to see the brothers from Stuck On You go at it. Brendan Gleeson, Amy Ryan, and Jason Isaacs also show up here doing their things, but not that much time to show anything more.

Consensus: Green Zone has some action that will keep you over, along with some good performances from the cast, but the script doesn’t really go anywhere, and just gives us action film cliches.



  1. Thought I’d take your advice and give your review a look. Good stuff – especially since we pretty much agree. I liked it a bit more than you seemed to, but I can’t argue with any of your criticism. Greengrass does push the handheld and natural lighting too far. During some of those exterior night scenes we just squint to make out any images at all. And it would have been a much stronger movie had Greengrass kept the movie on the scale of the soldiers. Damon’s character is a righteous soldier stuck in a badly managed, corrupt war. Sounds like the makings of a pretty good story – until Greengrass overloads it with big political statements like the final sequence. The last thing we see is Damon’s whistleblower character in a helicopter flying over oil fields. Gee, that’s subtle, Paul.

    p.s. You write too well for a 17-year old.

    • It’s an alright action film, but it tries way too hard to be something more. And thank you, don’t tell anyone but I’m actually 30…

  2. I thought Kinnear overplayed his part in this, which didn’t help an otherwise semi-passable action flick. The truth of the film is inhibited by Greengrass’s insistence on filming everything like a documentary, which, while it worked for Bourne, doesn’t do as well here.

    I got it on BluRay for the sound and picture, and it rocks, but the overall story isn’t terribly fantastic.

    • The story doesn’t have that emotional depth you would expect, and Greengrass tries so hard to make this look so realistic, that there are times where I had no idea what was going on really.

  3. Thank you! I thought I was alone in not liking the movie, but there was just something too chaotic and convoluted about it. With a new war comes new rules, and I guess that goes for cinema as well. I didn’t know what Greengrass was trying but he didn’t succeed.

    Gleeson elevated the movie, however. This is also the first Amy Ryan movie I’ve seen. She’s capable, but nothing mind blowing. She’s more awesome in other ones I’ve seen.

  4. I quite agree with your review. I had high hopes for GREEN ZONE, what with this being another Greengrass/Damon team up. Similar to you, I had trouble with the constantly shaking camera, which is a first since I find the camerawork in the two BOURNE sequels splendid. And yep – Matt Damon owns the military jargon.

  5. I have to say that I’m glad Matt Damon outgrew his “Good Will Hunting” phase — he’s really become a very versatile and talented actor. Somehow he can do films like “Green Zone” and “Ocean’s 11” and “The Informant!,” and all the performances are solid (better than solid, actually).

  6. Correct me if I’m wrong. But doesn’t *SPOILER* the end chase sequence involve that white car show up in an alley as Matt Damon’s character is fleeing, and we never see anyone get out of the car?

    As in, the ultimate plot convenience? It wasn’t that crippled guy, they showed him at the end of the chase way later!

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