Chief Warrant Officer Roy Miller is done following orders
Running Time: 115 minutes
US Certificate: R UK Certificate: 15
Country: Spain, France, United Kingdom, United States
Matt Damon and Paul Greengrass reunite for this Jason Bourne Goes to Iraq military epic. Well, it’s not exactly Jason Bourne, as Matt Damon is now Chief Warrant Officer Roy Miller of the US Army – basically, a clone for the real world. Our hero is looking for Weapons of Mass Destruction during the chaos of post-war Iraq but he comes up against bad intel (that’s ‘intelligence’ to you and me) and a conspiracy that goes way up. Green Zone is inevitably going to incur comparisons to the Bourne Trilogy and The Hurt Locker, Kathryn Bigelow’s Oscar-winning Iraq drama, and this is not going to do it any favours.
Whereas The Hurt Locker succeeded in bringing a humanity to the boys over in Iraq, Greengrass never really tries to go further than the two-dimensional stereotypes that we have here. There’s the usual suspects – the nasty bureaucrat (Kinnear), the shady guy on the inside (Gleeson) and the hardman with a heart of gold who just wants to know the truth. The conspiracy portion of the film is a little undercooked as the whole war improbably turns out to be one person’s fault and the mass double crossing doesn’t really appeal when you don’t care about any of the characters.
Greengrass does pack in everything that’s wrong with the invasion and subsequent occupation of Iraq. At different points he alludes to torture, civillian casualties, paranoia and double standards. This is all done with subtlety and contextually until the climactic meandering chase scene goes all Black Hawk Down and seems to take forever. War torn Iraq does look quite immense as the destruction is shown alongside giant sandstone historical statues and the Baghdad cityscape.
But that is looking at it critically, which most people who come to watch this film will not be doing. For fans of the Bourne series, Green Zone provides the right amount of intrigue, guns, explosions, espionage and shaky-camera fight scenes for those just wanting a light watch. Matt Damon is a likeable lead as he eschews unbending principals and an unshakability as he always seems to have things under control. You can see how Trey Parker and Matt Stone, behind Team America couldn’t find anything remarkable about him though. Unfortunately, the normally ever-dependable Brendan Gleeson is a bit of a let-down as throughout the film he just sounds like an Irishman trying to do an American accent but you’d expect him to do better.
The Hurt Locker it ain’t, but The Hurt Locker it doesn’t try and be.
It's Got: Maatt Damon, a very ill looking Brendan Gleeson, plenty of action and intrigue Bourne-style.
It Needs: A meatier conspiracy, better characterisation
Greengrass and Damon deliver enough intrigue and full blooded action to satisfy fans of the Bourne series but they fail to create three-dimensional characters or add anything substantial to the genre.