Green Zone (Blu-ray + Digital Copy)

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Rating: R

Starring:
Matt Damon as Roy Miller
Greg Kinnear as Clark Poundstone
Khalid Abdallas as Freddy
Brendan Gleeson as Martin Brown
Amy Ryan as Lawrie Dayne
Jason Isaacs as Major Briggs
Yigal Naor as Al Rawi

Special Features:
Deleted Scenes

Matt Damon: Ready for Action

Inside the Green Zone

U-Control Video Commentary and Picture in Picture

pocket BLU

Other Info:
Widescreen (2.40:1)
DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
French and Spanish Languages
French and Spanish Subtitles
Running Time: 1 Hour 55 Minutes

The Details:
The following is the official description of the film:

“Academy Award nominees Matt Damon and director Paul Greengrass (‘The Bourne Supremacy,’ ‘The Bourne Ultimatum’) reteam in this action-packed thriller. Damon stars as Roy Miller, a rogue U.S. Army officer who must hunt through covert and faulty intelligence hidden on foreign soil before war escalates in an unstable region.

“Green Zone” is rated R for violence and language.

The Movie:
I think your enjoyment of “Green Zone” will depend heavily on your own personal politics. The film builds on the facts that the US invaded Iraq under the belief that there were WMD’s in the country being distributed to terrorist organizations. Once Iraq was invaded, there were no WMD’s found. “Green Zone” then picks up from there and makes up its own idea of what happened. It paints an elaborate conspiracy where the US knowingly fabricated WMD evidence, the press regurgitated anything it was fed by the presidential administration, and a puppet government was set up amid a culture the US barely understood. (After all, the US couldn’t have possibly done everything thanks to gross incompetence and/or negligence. It had to be a conspiracy!) If you supported Bush then this movie will probably annoy you. If you were anti-Bush, you’ll probably think this is the greatest movie ever. Whatever you think, “Green Zone” creates an alternate reality featuring a fantasy ending to the war. In that sense it’s a lot like how “Inglorious Basterds” killed off Hitler in its finale. It’s not necessarily the ending to the war that really happened, but it’s the one that we may have wished happened. It’s annoying to me, personally, that it presents itself as non-fiction and that some idiots out there may watch the film and think it’s a factual version of what happened.

Politics aside, how is the movie? I personally liked the combat scenes. I thought Matt Damon did a fine job as a soldier. I thought the gunfights were well choreographed. I typically hate ‘shaky cam’ filming, but I feel like it works better on the small screen than the big screen. In a home theater it’s somewhat tolerable. I thought director Paul Greengrass’ trademark chase scenes were well done and very engaging.

The setting of occupied Baghdad was also interesting. It’s a distinct clash of cultures and the scenes of a city in utter chaos is a compelling location. They did a fantastic job substituting Morocco for Baghdad. It’s also ironic to see the burned out, destroyed streets of Baghdad contrasted with the elaborate palaces that the armed forces and US press occupy. While citizens are dodging bullets in the street, the reporters and soldiers are seen lounging by the pool. It’s a dramatic contrast.

The film is at its least interesting as the politics unfold. The scenes where Miller confronts Poundstone, Brown, and Dayne are little more than a good time to go to the bathroom. It’s a shame because Greg Kinnear, Brendan Gleeson, and Amy Ryan are all fine actors. I was definitely impressed by Jason Isaacs as Major Briggs. He’s practically unrecognizable and he’s extremely tough. It’s a unique role for him. I was also impressed with Khalid Abdallas as Freddy. He gets pulled into the events and provides a face for the average Iraqi citizen.

I have to say that between “Green Zone” and “The Hurt Locker,” I liked “Green Zone” better. “The Hurt Locker” had better, tenser action scenes but “Green Zone” was a lot less depressing and melancholy. If you want a drama set in Iraq but you’re looking for something a bit less dark, “Green Zone” delivers.

The Blu-ray has a modest selection of bonus features. There are a few deleted scenes included, none of which are real noteworthy. “Matt Damon: Ready for Action” shows Damon performing with the real soldiers. “Inside the Green Zone” shows how they transformed Morocco into Baghdad. Then you can watch the movie in “U-Control Mode” to see a video commentary in a popup windows. It includes additional behind the scenes footage.

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