I’m a bit of a sucker for the Bourne movies (they’re basically the only American action films I find interesting) so I was pretty stoked when the screening for Green Zone opened up. I mean, this is a movie I was seriously considering paying for. Shocking, right?
It’s a satisfying popcorn movie, a war action thriller based on a book by Washington Post journalist Rajiv Chandrasekaran. The film opens with Matt Damon’s Chief Miller leading a raid on what is meant to be a WMD storage site. It’s the third time such a raid has come up empty, and he starts to question where the intelligence — or lack thereof — is coming from. Brendan Gleeson and Amy Ryan are the CIA representative and journalist who also have their doubts about how the whole Iraq mission is being run, Greg Kinnear is the intelligence operator/White House mouthpiece, and Khalid Abdalla is great as Freddy, an Iraqi informant working with Miller and acting as the voice of the ambivalent Iraqi citizens.
The film is, unsurprisingly, getting criticism for changing names and fictionalizing, as well as for pushing a left-wing agenda. Here’s the thing. Names are changed, sure, but it’s not like we don’t know who they mean. And if by pushing a left-wing agenda they mean exposing the lies over which we went to war, then sure, it does. As well it should. And if this is a venue through which more people will be open to understanding what happened and what is still happening under our watch, then right fucking on.
A technical detail: I didn’t have any difficulty with the Shaky Cam, and in fact, I frequently liked how it forced me to focus better than I might have otherwise. All the action made sense and was clear enough to follow, unlike some of the Bourne action.