Starring: Matt Damon, Greg Kinnear, Amy Ryan
Director: Paul Greengrass
Running Time: 115 mins
Green Zone is an American film about a US army officer who, while serving in Iraq in 2003, begins to uncover faults in intelligence showing the presence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, putting his mission in jeopardy as he goes rogue from military command.
With director Paul Greengrass’ famed ability of bringing current affairs to life on the big screen, Green Zone has all the hallmarks of a riveting and thrilling portrayal of the infamous hunt for WMDs in Iraq.
That said, however, the film only really touches home on a factually interesting level, struggling to really grab you with its characters and emotional depth. And as a result, it fails to deliver any real intensity or drama, often coming off a little dry throughout.
But if there’s one thing that you can’t fault Green Zone for – it’s portraying real-life events in as dynamic and factually accurate a way as possible. Of course, with a story that by 2010 was still shrouded in secrecy and controversy, the film has to take some licence at times, but for the most part, Green Zone sticks to the facts in order to make it story as gripping as possible.
And that’s what I really liked about the film. Its attention to detail, its commitment to fact, and its burning desire to reveal the truth about the USA’s flawed operations in Iraq make it a hugely interesting watch, teaching you about the machinations and movements of both the American and Iraqi sides at the time.
From internal rivalries on both sides to how the Americans ‘interpreted’ Iraqi intelligence, and the reaction of local Iraqis to the American occupation, Green Zone is rich in detail and historical depth, which proves hugely interesting throughout.
The problem with the film, however, is that it doesn’t really do enough on a deeper level to make things a little more exciting. The factual attention to detail is excellent, but given that so many of us know from recent history the outcome of this story, the film doesn’t quite have the punch it needs.
Typically, that’s what character development is for – you might know the outcome but it’s the journey along the way that makes a story riveting. However, Green Zone really struggles to make any of its major characters particularly interesting, using them largely as plot devices that emulate the differing sides of the conflict.
There’s very little emotional depth at play, with Matt Damon’s character a virtuous but far from fascinating lead, while supporting characters are equally thin on an emotional front.
The performances are generally good, with starring turns from Amy Ryan, Greg Kinnear and Brendan Gleeson alongside Damon, but it’s not really enough to make Green Zone a genuinely enthralling and emotionally powerful watch.
Overall, then, while this film has a brilliant eye for facts, relating controversial recent events with riveting detail, it’s never the hard-hitting thriller that it needs to be to prove genuinely engrossing. As a result, while it’s a historically interesting watch throughout, Green Zone is a little on the dry side, and that’s why I’m giving it a 7.0.