Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Movie Review: Green Zone

I went into this much aligned movie with somewhat low expectations.  Even though it was something I was excited about when I first heard of it - teaming Greengrass with Damon again - it was shot down by the critics and fans alike.  So when I walked out loving it, it was a nice surprise.

I understand the backlash... A war movie when war movies are financial disasters (The Hurt Locker was the lowest grossing Best Picture winner of all time).  A movie about something we all know - so how can it be worthwhile?  I heard critics say it was heavy handed in its portrayal of WMD's.  This was a movie the right hated, and the left hated equally it seems.

I don't really care about all of that.  I loved this movie.  I am a right leaning individual.  I am more Libertarian than Republican - but definitely right leaning.  But this movie wasn't anti-America - which I've heard some people call it.  It was anti-politics.  It was, in my opinion, actually very pro-soldier.  I hate politics - right, left, middle - so I found myself rooting against these ass clowns. 

I think it goes without saying that it is made at an extremely high level.  Every aspect of the film is done with the skill of master talent.  We feel entrenched in this desert, surrounded by chaos and absurdity.  When the soldiers walk into the military base fresh off the battle field and into this spring break-like pool scene, where the journalists and bureaucrats linger, it sums the movie up for me.  A complete divide between reality and 'Washington'. 

Of course Greengrass cut some corners in order to speed the story along.  He cut out middle-men and made his villains larger than life and a bit on the nose.  But the story never stopped moving forward.  And in that final scene, when Greg Kinnear walks into the room of hand-picked leaders he put together and it is chaos - the look on his face is priceless.  He has a sense of humanity, that what he is doing may be wrong but he can't even stop it or control it... probably never could.  It is and always has been bigger than him.

The real highlight of this film is Matt Damon.  Never before have I seen him perform so well.  Even in Good Will Hunting he may have been overshadowed a bit by Ben Affleck or even Casey, just because their characters were funnier.  And in the Bourne movies he's reserved, a coil ready to spring.  In this, he just commanded so much attention every time he was onscreen it blew me away.  He played the part of soldier on a mission to perfection.  He was no-nonsense, an asshole even.  And when he had to show his softer side he didn't let it border on melodrama.  He was awesome.

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