Green Zone

Director : Paul Greengrass

Starring   : Matt Damon,
                 Greg   Kinnear
                 Amy Ry

OVERVIEW

After seeing this film, I draw two conclusions : one, that the true paradigm-shifting ability of this film will only be realised years later, and two, it's one of the most entertaining Iraq-war films yet. Set in immediate post-Invasion Iraq, Green Zone is a bold film in that it is one of the first films that doesn't show Iraqis as one-dimensional terrorists. Released less than a decade after the war, self-declared "patriots" castigated it for allegedly being anti-war and anti-American. In truth, Green Zone steps out of the comfort zone of most Hollywood productions by the simple fact that it depicts Iraqi soldiers (and militia) soon after the Invasion (and not insurgents, like Hollywood's preference). With an eclectic cast, well shot adrenalin-pumping action scenes and compelling characters driven by a brilliant plot, Green Zone makes for an awarding deserving action-thriller that has the potential to change people's perspective on the war the way post-Vietnam films did.


One look at some of the Iraq War films, and it is safe to conclude that Hollywood is staunchly fixated about only depicting the post-2004 insurgency. Films such as Redaction have examined the shocking real life iniquities perpetrated by U.S forces, but all without exception choose to categorically ignore the plight of the outgunned and outnumbered Iraqi soldiers in the days following the Invasion, facing an infinitely stronger enemy and a leadership that made a run for it.

Green Zone opens up in a palatial building in Baghdad in March 2003. Amid the shaking roofs and screaming women, plain-clothed Iraqis urge an important looking man to leave. Greengrass' direction plays its magic here as the sense of urgency appears genuine and elicits panic in the viewer. He is a general, we gather, and as he and his escorts pile into cars and speed out along palm-tree-skirted roads as bombs befall the capital, the plumes arising in the horizon.

Four weeks later, a U.S Army soldier by the name of Roy Miller is leading an attack on a "confirmed" WMD site. It turns out to be a toilet factory. It's the third time they went to an intel-confirmed location, and it's the same result - nothing. Miller is advised by his superior to not raise the issue at an overall situation briefing, but he does anyway, catching the attention of CIA agent Marty Brown (played wonderfully by Brendan Gleeson), who mentions outside that he doesn't believe in the existence of WMDs in Iraq.

At the same time, two different characters are about to have their lives changed forever. One is a Wall Street reporter, adamant about meeting a shadowy high-level Iraqi contact named "Magellan", upon whose words she has written important articles. The only problem is she has never met him. Meanwhile, in Baghdad, an ordinary but enigmatic Iraqi by the name of 'Freddy' alerts Miller to a meeting of high level figures in hiding.


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