Monday, April 5, 2010

Green Zone

by Pa Rock
Film Critic

Yesterday afternoon an earthquake struck northern Mexico, sending out tremors that were felt as far away as Phoenix. Several people where I work had stories to tell about the tremors that rocked their world yesterday, but I missed the entire event. I was at the movies watching Green Zone, a film that was so engrossing that I failed to notice the earth moving!

Green Zone is a great movie, a work of fiction overlaying a frame of truth. It is the story of the military's frantic search for WMDs after the fall of Baghdad, and the intrigues of the politicians on the ground who struggled to arrange facts to fit the Bush administration's arguments for attacking Iraq. It also dramatized the administration's early attempts to fashion a "popular" government for Iraq that would meet the needs of the Americans.

The term "Green Zone" refers to the highly secure American zone surrounding one of Saddam's main palaces. The movie portray's the Zone as "Hollywood" in the middle of a war. While American soldiers and Iraqis are fighting and dying a short distance away, well-oiled civilians and politicians are lying around swimming pools and swilling drinks in relative luxury within the Green Zone. The contrast is damning.

Matt Damon stars as Chief Warrant Officer Roy Miller, the leader of a detail desperately trying to find WMDs during the hectic first days of the invasion. In the opening scene he begins to realize that the intelligence about the locations the WMDs is seriously flawed or completely phony.

Damon's character is approached by an Iraqi national named Freddy who gives him information on a meeting that is in progress with some of Saddam's generals and main supporters. Freddy, played by Khalid Abdall, is motivated by a desire to see his country free of Saddam's ruthless followers. That chance bit of information provided by Freddy is instrumental in leading CWO Miller into his own investigation as to why all of the WMD intelligence is so bad.

As he goes rogue in pursuit of answers, Miller confronts a diabolical American politician, Greg Kinnear, who is trying to make facts fit the fiction. He also encounters a naive reporter, Amy Ryan, who is seeking sources for a story that is, in reality, an American government fabrication. Miller is aided in his quest for the truth by an uneasy alliance with a CIA operative, Brendan Gleeson, who is trying to fashion a practical future for Iraq, one that works for Iraqis and does not necessarily reflect the political desires of Washington.

Matt Damon was great in this film. He has the maturity and gravitas to pull off the role of an experienced soldier operating in a war zone. Greg Kinnear was also exceptional as the political operative, Clark Poundstone. Damon was determined to learn the truth, and Kinneer was equally determined to keep him in the dark. Together they set the tension that that kept the story real and exciting, so real and exciting that it caused me to miss an earthquake!

1 comment:

Reed said...

I went to watch this a couple of weeks ago. I didn't make it through the whole movie due to some pain. But it was good to hear that you enjoyed it. It will now be added to my RED BOX list.