GREEN ZONE, a fairly audacious 2010 cinematic challenge to the official story (“slam dunk”/fairy tale/Lie) of the Bush regime’s—oops, administration’s—attack on Iraq back in 2003 got mixed reviews (the right-wing cheerleader/pod people hated it) and failed commercially. Costing $100,000,000 to produce and another $40,000,000 to market, with what it needed to make, it came down as a flop, earning just $94,882,549 globally, an un-green 60th place in the year’s monetary zone. The ire from Neanderthalians would be a given:taking a haymaker swing, we assume none of them ever getting within a hemisphere of something as patriotically career-challenging as, uh, combat. But the dismal public response is a real weapon of mass destruction: who wants to be war-bummed by icky truth when you can beer-cheer “kill ’em all” with pot-gut multitudes who soiled their shorts—and national honor—over American Sniper?
Directed by Paul Greengrass, Brian Helgeland’s script takes off from the non-fiction book “Imperial Life In The Emerald City”, written by journalist Rajiv Chandrasekaran. Matt Damon plays ‘Roy Miller’, a US Army officer charged with finding WMD stockpiles after the invasion and fall of Saddam. The character, continually frustrated by searches leading to nothing, is based on Chief Warrant Officer Richard Gonzalez. Others in the mix include Greg Kinnear, essentially representing the fakester Paul Bremer, Brendan Gleeson (based on Jay Garner) and Amy Ryan as a reasonable facsimile of the ever-so-helpful “New York Times” sellout, Judith Miller. Convincing location work in Spain and Morocco subbing for Iraq is showcased through the excellent production design.
The acting is sharp, the momentum appropriately heedless. Ultimately, overall effect is mitigated by Greengrass’ maddening insistence on jiggling the camera and having the editor cut things so fast a bat would have trouble keeping focused. Flawed by those artistic choices, but well worth a look thanks to the cast and script.
With Khalid Abdalla, Yigal Noar (likely as the infamous ‘Curve Ball’, sower of deadly b.s.), Jason Isaacs, Michael O’Neill, Patrick St.Esprit.