Green Zone or why going to see films because of editors is apparently a good idea


Green Zone (France/USA/Spain/UK, 2010)

Seen: Saturday, 5th June 2010 (cinema)
Runtime: 115′
Director: Paul Greengrass
Cast: Yigal Naor, Matt Damon, Amy Ryan, Greg Kinnear, Brendan Gleeson, Khalid Abdalla, Jason Isaacs
Production House: Universal Pictures, Studio Canal, Relativity Media, Working Title Films, Antena 3 Films

See a clip from the film here.

Rating: +1 (Loved It)

Themes: Conspiracy, Army, CIA, War on Terror, Iraq, WMD

Plot: Chief Warrant Officer Roy Miller is frustrated with the intelligence his unit is getting - every time they arrive at a site there are no signs of WMDs. He starts asking questions about where his superiors are getting their intelligence on Iraqi WMDs from.

Driven By:
- Action/Plot
This is very much a film that relies on its intrigue. It’s beautifully paced.
- Issues
It’s quite a political film. The question of why the US went to war in Iraq drives the story.

Style: Handheld camera, very fast-paced editing.

Memorable Moments:
- Miller’s confrontations with “Freddy”, his translator
The film is packed with confrontations - there are military ones, but also plain and simple arguments between people. I found many of them interesting, but I particularly loved the arguments between Miller and Freddy. In one of the confrontations Freddy shouts something along the lines of “Don’t you think I want to see my country free a thousand times more than you do?”. Ironically, I think it’s the first time I’ve seen an American film portray an Iraqi who badly wants his country’s independence :]
- Miller getting frustrated with not finding WMDs
I liked how Matt Damon played the frustration - it was very real and easy to relate to.
- Al Rawi’s scenes
Al Rawi is yet another example of how Iraqis are generally not portrayed in Hollywood. He’s a completely different character to Freddy. I loved his calmness and clear-headedness. There’s something quite majestic about him, which gives a very different flavour to the confrontations with him.

General Comments:
While Green Zone and The Bourne Ultimatum share their editor, they have different cinematographers, which accounts for the difference in style. Green Zone isn’t quite as adventurous as The Bourne Ultimatum was - no long lenses and awkward angles. But it’s beautifully paced. Christopher Rouse (the editor) has an absolutely wonderful sense of rhythm and I want to see more of his work *grin* I still don’t get how he can get away with shots that short and have me like it. The way he does it… it just works.
In terms of the plot I loved that there were bad Americans and good Americans, bad Iraqis and good Iraqis and that the whole reality of the film is so complex. One could even argue there are about three different wars going on in the film - the American army against Iraqi insurgents, a political war between two camps of Americans and, perhaps the most difficult one to understand and yet the one that proves most pivotal, the conflict between the Iraqis themselves.
And then there’s Al Rawi. Even though he was part of Saddam’s regime, you can easily understand the argument that he might be a better man to rule the country at this time, while at the same time feeling Freddy’s disgust at the very suggestion. It’s a very multi-layered reality and yet very well explained.

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