Matt Damon is back to save the world in this anti-Iraq-war blockbuster which was directed by Paul Greengrass, the man who also brought us two of the Bourne films and United 93.
Don’t let that little list of smash hits lead you to think this is as brilliant though. Green Zone is a thought-provoking film, but it just didn’t quite grab me the way some of Greengrass’ previous films have. It’s about Chief Warrant Officer Roy Miller (played by Damon) who is head of a WMD-finding unit in Baghdad.
The unit keep finding that the alleged WMD sites they are being sent to are anything but WMD sites. So Miller, way ahead of the rest of the world, clocks on that the intelligence may be dodgy and so goes about uncovering one of the biggest scandals, if not the biggest scandal, of the 21st Century so far.
Damon puts on a perfectly professional, believable performance. It’s frustrating how little we ever learn about his character though; there is little-to-no depth here and Miller almost appears to be a representation of Western righteousness rather than a heroic figure who put the pieces of this worrying puzzle together a long time before the rest of us were able to.
Without Damon I fear the film would have sunk altogether. The rest of the cast, most of whom have minimal screen time, do a fairly forgettable job. Amy Ryan, who plays reporter Lawrie Dayne gives a frustratingly hesitant performance. I was just far too aware that she was acting a part and reciting lines from a script to ever really relax when she was on screen.
Perhaps this wasn’t entirely the actress’ fault though, as again she seemed to represent a type of person (in this case journalists) in this mess rather than actually be an individual. Even at the end of the film, when Miller sends her his findings, you see that she is just one of a long line of journalists to be receiving his email and their ‘relationship’ becomes rather meaningless.
The film’s ending is unsatisfying, but I suppose that is poignantly accurate; so was the real ‘ending’ to the Iraq war. Elements of a job have been completed but questions still hang in the air around whether this ‘job’ should ever have been started in the first place and around whether or not the people who manufactured this lie will ever pay for it.
Overall, I enjoyed Green Zone, but it was bordering on average and I wouldn’t make a conscious effort to watch it again. However, if you are at a loss as to what to see at the cinema over the next few weekends, then I would recommend it. If it’s a choice between this or The Hurt Locker though, then most certainly go for the latter, which is just far more compelling.
By Sophie Hudson