Netflix UK film review: Green Zone
Ivan Radford | On 01, Nov 2014Reading time: 2 mins
Director: Paul Greengrass
Cast: Matt Damon, Jason Isaacs, Amy Ryan, Brendan Gleeson, Greg Kinnear
Watch Green Zone online in the UK: Netflix UK
“I came here to find weapons and save lives”. “It’s a little more complicated than that.” “Not for me!” Roy Miller (Damon) is an American soldier with a difference. Not only does he bear an uncanny resemblance to Jason Bourne and Hollywood actor Matt Damon, he also has a big thing for the truth.
Why does his Iraq team keep failing to find WMDs in every location they raid? No-one else is questioning the dodgy intel. so Miller takes it upon himself to hunt down the answers “off reservation”. A rogue grunt single-handedly uncovering the Iraq war deception? It’s a far-fetched premise and one that never quite works.
It’s a good job that Paul Greengrass is holding the camera then – waving the lens all over the place, his trademark kinetic style works wonders in Iraq’s occupied Green Zone, forcing us head-on into a cluster of shoot-ups and smackdowns. Amid the insurgents and the wildly violent special forces – led by a butch Jason Isaacs, sporting one hell of a ‘tache – Miller more than holds his own. It’s when he stops to ask questions that it all falls down.
The corrupt CIA guys are all in place and suitably slimy – Clark Poundstone (Kinnear) wants power as soon as possible, despite Martin Brown’s (Gleeson) view that a more diplomatic takeover is possible and, moreover, needed. But shades of grey get dipped all too easily in tins of Dulux black and white. Initially arriving after the overdue Chilcott inquiry, Green Zone makes a valid point, but one that’s over-simplified and out of date.
Visually, it makes for solid popcorn fodder. But this is Paul Greengrass – the man who brought us Bloody Sunday and United 93 is capable of better political movies than this. With a twist that sadly everyone knows, this war film is a blistering bomb site of ideas. As it all boils down to a cracking chase through an explosive Baghdad, racing after General Al Rawi (Saddam’s Jack of Clubs), the thriller really takes a grip on its surroundings with gut-punching action. But with its ill-conceived dialogue and a wasted Amy Ryan as a Wall Street journalist, the adrenaline rush comes just a little too late.
Green Zone is available on Netflix UK, as part of an £8.99 monthly subscription.