Green Zone is a film that is complex as much as it is simple. On the complex end it reminded me of Kafka meeting Orwell: Big Brother watched (and tries to control) a nightmarish chaos. Yet, on the other hand, the film seems to simplify the war into action-packed good and evil story, which war is usually anything but. Green Zone does hint at deeper layers, which in an indie film would have probably been explored in more depth.
One reason I went to see Green Zone is Matt Damon, as I am a sucker for his Bourne movies, and I figured that if for nothing else, at least it will be good Bourne-like action, especially with Paul Greengrass at the helm as the director. And that I received – superb action was there, and plenty of it. But what is the film really about? Intelligent people such as Greengrass and Demon would not do a film with Iraq as the backdrop, unless they had a statement to make. What is this statement? That this war was made of a web of lies about WMD? That the Bush administration knowingly deceived the American people? All of this is now a known fact (at least to the majority of us, who are not blinded by political loyalty) and unless this film was made for future generations’ sake, why bother? The answer may be in some subtle lines and situations which the movie conveys – situations such as an attempt made by a decent soldier, portrayed by Damon, to try and keep a general from Saddam’s inner circle alive, in order to prove the deceit of the administration. For this soldier truth matters more than individual justice. Now this is a moral dilemma I would have liked to see more of. Similarly there are lines exchanged between Damon and a CIA official about naïveté which again are not well developed. I would have rather see it than hear the rhetoric of it. And then there is the helicopter hovering over a fighting scene, human targets tracked and clearly marked for a kill. The USA is trying to play a Big Brother over a chaotic Iraq. This is further enhanced by some American officials who believe they understand how to manipulate the local people into a democracy they are completely not ready for. These moments in the movie take it to a different level. Unfortunately these moments pass by almost unnoticed, swallowed into the engaging action, which, in this sense, does disservice to what may have been the film’s true intention.
All this made my rating task difficult, as this film’s rating hangs somewhere between 3 and 4 stars. But since I strictly follow the “no halves” rule (for now…) and when in doubt go with the lower rating, I’ll have to, with a somewhat heavy hear, go with 3.