Green Zone - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Green Zone Reviews

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Super Reviewer
½ April 3, 2011
Paul Greengrass uses politics to mask what is ultimately a very generic Matt Damon vehicle.
Super Reviewer
January 2, 2013
Paul Greengrass has made some terrific films in his career as a director. When he collaborates with Matt Damon, he always manages to create something entertaining and worth seeing. Green Zone is a highly entertaining action thriller set during the Iraq War. This is a well acted film that has a very good plot that makes this a very entertaining film from start to finish. The film focuses on an Army officer who hunts for Weapons of Mass Destruction, and comes out empty handed due to faulty intelligence reports. This is a tense film that is yet another strong directorial outing for Greengrass, who always knows how to create something memorable with his movies. Green Zone is a fine movie that has a strong cast that deliver some terrific performances. If you're looking for affine thriller, then give this one a shot, it definitely is an engaging picture that will grab your attention. Matt Damon is terrific in the role of Roy Miller, the army officer hunting for the WMD's. Paul Greengrass is a terrific filmmaker and he always picks some terrific ideas for movies. This is yet another well crafted film from a great director, and this is a must see for action fans. This is a tense ride from start to finish and it overcomes its flaws by delivering a well layered plot with great acting and tense, thrilling scenes that will keep you hooked till the final frame. Whenever Paul Greengrass and Matt Damon get together they make something special, and the result is displayed clearly in this well executed action thriller. I found that this film was a bit underrated and it deserves to be seen by film fans everywhere, and it ranks among the directors best works.
Super Reviewer
August 16, 2008
An explosive and strickly tense edge of your seat thriller. A sharp, crisp and well-crafted film that stands with some of Director, Paul Greengreass`s most impressive work. Director, Paul Greengrass and Star, Matt Damon do it again and deliver the goods. Matt Damon is terrific. Also packs some solid performanaces from Jason Isaacs. Amy Ryan, Greg Kinnear and Brendan Gleeson. A pulse-pounding and razor-edged action-packed thrill-ride from start to finish. An intensely dramatic and political look as well as the harsh dreaded realism of the atmosphere. It`s a gritty, thrilling and riveting movie. It stands on par with the Bourne films in style but is its own beast.
Super Reviewer
½ February 22, 2011
Let's get this out of the way: The plot of this movie was way too simplistic and ridiculous. However, Paul Greengrass always seems to drive kinetic, fast-paced, tense action throughout the entire movie. I was very, very entertained.
Super Reviewer
½ November 4, 2011
The Iraq war was about oil man. Nevermind the fact that the largest oil contracts in Iraq after the US invasion went to PetroChina and Sinopec, both state oil companies of China.
Super Reviewer
March 13, 2011
Green Zone is one ofthose movies that make us love war films, and other than the awful camera work, this is a great war movie.
Super Reviewer
July 22, 2011
Those non-existent Weapons of Mass Destruction. Damn. It took me three nights to get through this movie. If you are at all bothered about the grand, horrible US lie regarding WMD, this movie will make you downright mentally ill. It's a good thing that Bush, Cheney, Rove, Rumsfeld, Powell, Rice and the rest of those lying, money-grubbing SOBs all assert that they are good Christians. Why is this good, you may ask? It's good because it means that they are all headed to the place that Christians term Hell. And they will burn in ultimate misery because of their evil, stupid, greed-driven waste of so many lives, military and civilian. Good riddance to Bush-Co. May God torture you all with every imaginable excruciating punishment for all eternity and beyond.
Super Reviewer
½ July 21, 2011
Largely harmless (or not if you're one of "those" Americans) gritty action flick hung on a every day working formula and themes in a successful politically charged plot. Not bad at all, but I wish it didn't feel like I was watching a Jason Bourne spin-off the whole time.

Then again, Jason Bourne was pretty damn good.
Super Reviewer
March 11, 2010
The Bourne team are once again reunited to tell the story of a US soldier investigating WMD sites who stumbles upon a conspiracy involving the government and an Iraqi general. The combination of Paul "shakycam" Greengrass and Matt Damon, playing his usual likeable action man of the people was always going to invite comparisons with their previous collaborations. It has the same formula of breathless action and convoluted conspiracies, but in this case, despite the larger themes involved the plot seems a lot more simplistic. Failing to address the role of corporate interests and the propaganda "war on terror", Green Zone prefers to point the finger at a faceless, corrupt minority operating outside the purview of the moral majority which always seemed to me to be a bit like providing invisible, intangible scapegoats for the actions of those truly responsible. The story is obviously told with the aid of 20-20 hindsight and it all feels a bit revisionist but taken as a piece of pure entertainment, it's pretty solid. In other words, if you're a Bourne fan you won't be disappointed; just don't expect any earth shattering insight from it.
Super Reviewer
½ January 24, 2011
Just as it is hard to ascertain what is fact and what is fiction regarding the Iraqi War, the Green Zone is equally as hard to pin down. Based on a Non-Fiction book, one would assume that the events are factual, but here you just never know, as the US government spin-doctors obfuscate and distort every piece of media to its own advantage. How much is fact here, and how much fiction? Does it matter? Is this a documentary or an action film based on rumours? There is a beautiful lyric by Collective Soul that is apropos here:"Question your answers".

The film contains several conspiracy theories - from the WMD issue to whether or not factions within the US government went against better reasoning and ousted the Iraqi military hierarchy in support of a puppet regime that it thought it could better control. The end result of course was years of war as, with the country destabilized, the different religious factions all fought for control.

Amidst all the political maneuvering, backstabbing, and lies, the film does an admirable job of letting you see behind the curtain - from the shock and awe and arrogance of the US military, to the incredible waste of both lives and materials... and for what end? Director Greengrass lets you feel the senselessness of it all, mainly by following Matt Damon as he follows military intel in an attempt to find the elusive weapons of mass destruction.

Damon is very solid as the elite squad leader, as are the many supporting roles, including Amy Ryan as the Wall Street Journal reporter who first reported (from a "government source") the WMDs. Brendan Gleeson is wonderful as the CIA operative, who at one point tells Damon that he won't find any WMD at the next intel site, since the UN already searched the site months before. Finally, there is Greg Kinnear portraying the slimy government guy in charge, who, in a nice touch, gets to see the fruits of his questionable labor: the different Iraqi factions all yelling at each other and then leaving the negotiation table. Oops, and you thought that installing your puppet would be easy and all would be well.

The pacing of the film is quite nice, ratcheting up the tension with cut scenes from one point of view to another - especially effective in the scenes involving the invasion of the safe house where all the Iraqi military higher ups are meeting. But the quick pace is a two edged sword, as the film cannot keep escalating the pace and the penultimate chase scene (which involves Damon, his crew, the US military under Kinnear's direction, and the Iraqi General) in spite of some nice camera work, seems overlong.

I felt that Greengrass did a nice job with a convoluted script (how could it not be, considering the topics involved), and I enjoyed the message of the film (spoken by an Iraqi national to Damon: "you do not decide what happens here" - well maybe the US did ultimately decide, it just took five years and thousand of lives to get to where it could have been at the outset if politicos like the character portrayed by Kinnear would have had a better understanding of what they were getting into, and perhaps a lot less hubris).

Of course the film isn't perfect - sliding just a bit into Hollywoodism for the film's payoff. Just wondering how Damon continues to have access to the room with all the high and mighty... as if every leutenant or special forces dude can just waltz into the white house any time they feel like it... also one could argue that Damon coulda,woulda been court-marshalled for disobeying orders and continually going off the grid - maybe they confused him with Jason Bourne...
Super Reviewer
March 10, 2010
a well made action/war film that was interesting and very entertaining but isnt the sort of film that will stick with me over time. the end was a bit silly following such a believable story to that point, but damon was solid as always and the political undertones didnt go far enough to take away from the energy of the film so overall it was very solid.
Super Reviewer
June 29, 2009
Now that the Iraq War is winding down we can expect to see many more movies dealing with the war, hopefully they will be as intelligent and critically rigorous as Green Zone. A film that deals directly with the supposed impetus for the war, the Weapons of Mass Destruction, which simply weren't there. The film subtly suggests that the Green Zone, the 'safe' zone of the Allies head-quaters, is the most dangerous zone of all. An important milestone in the depiction of the Iraq War from Hollywood.
Super Reviewer
½ December 16, 2010
A political thriller from the usually solid Paul Greengrass, whose political agenda takes center stage here, in a story concerning a dedicated US soldier who catches wind of a conspiracy that the US invasion of Iraq took place under false pretenses. While Damon puts out another competent performance, and the action scenes do bring the goods, this liberal propaganda piece pushes its agenda to far down its audience's throats eventually. It also paints its characters too obviously, as Kinnear becomes the regular douchey corporate bad guy, Isaacs as the soul-less thug officer, and Ryan as the innocent but nice-enough reporter. The ending tries so hard to be poetic and fitting, but instead it just comes across as pretty ridiculous.
Super Reviewer
½ January 14, 2010
There is nothing new or original presented here, but in the end, it has a great feel. It just feels like is has aspects of film that is needed, but never really proven or given by many other war films in the genre. I was a bit bored at times, but the plot was at least interesting. I was expecting more from a movie that has actually great performances.
Super Reviewer
November 16, 2010
While it is already in our minds that the war in Iraq was and continues to be a total fiasco, this just re-enforces that fact. It's a really interesting and important type of story about war, asking why we go in the first place. Add some good actors and performances and you have a really entertaining movie as well. Matt Damon does a great job and has you on his side the entire time. This is far from Paul Greengrass's style with the Bourne sequels and in every way more impressive.
Super Reviewer
November 15, 2010
Leave it to the army of moronic critics and reviewers to brand this as a failed Bourne movie and unjustly compare it to completely different movies and characters. "Green Zone" might be a work of fiction, but it uses real situations and emotions as the pull and weight of the movie. Contrary to popular belief Matt Damon is not Jason Bourne and can play a different character in an action/adventure scenario, and he does it flawlessly. This is the type of movie I love because it has the intrigue and story of a spy movie, but the fast pace and stylization of an action movie. "Green Zone" does question the motivations and justification of the Iraq war, but it also honors the dedication of the common soldier to fight what is unjust in the world.
Daniel Mumby
Super Reviewer
October 7, 2010
It's been a bad year to be a blockbuster. Most of the films which were predicted to be sure-fire money-spinners have ended up either underperforming or flopping altogether. For whatever reason (piracy, high ticket prices, sequel fatigue, sporting events), audiences have, relatively speaking, stayed away in their droves this summer. And the moment the alarm bells started ringing was when Green Zone, with a healthy budget of $100m, took less than $20m on its opening weekend in the States.

In hindsight, it's a shame that audiences stayed away, because Green Zone is a highly effective, intelligent conspiracy thriller which beats The Hurt Locker in the rapidly-increasing sub-genre of Iraq war films. While nothing like as radical or innovative as his previous works, particularly The Bourne Ultimatum, it is a very solid and well-rounded addition to the Paul Greengrass oeuvre.

It's inevitable to compare Green Zone and The Hurt Locker for the simple fact they cover the same war and came out around the same time. One could almost call them our equivalent of Platoon and Full Metal Jacket - although neither comes remotely close to the quality of Stanley Kubrick's work. Green Zone is the better film, though, for two reasons.

Firstly, it is generically speaking much more sure of itself. The conspiracy elements of The Hurt Locker felt tacked-on and distracting, while Green Zone follows through with its thriller premise to a very satisfying conclusion. Secondly, for a similar reason, it has the strength of its convictions. Greengrass never resorts to sentimentality to get his message across, unlike the scenes at the end of The Hurt Locker showing Jeremy Renner's failure to cope with domesticity.

That said, The Hurt Locker does have a better opening. The first 20 minutes of Green Zone do feel flat and generic, covering ground which seems very familiar. Greengrass' familiar 'shaky-camera' shooting style can be alienating at first; unlike The Bourne Ultimatum, the opening sense of disorientation does not add anything to the story or the experience of watching the first few scenes play out. These scenes give the first indication that Greengrass is in danger of becoming a prisoner of his own technique. Much like Nick Broomfield before him, he may soon be at the point of needing to adopt an alternative approach to prevent any unnecessary self-indulgence.

Much of the criticism surrounding Green Zone has centred on either the technical front (like the camerawork) or the overly familiar narrative. But while the opening may seem too familiar to be properly engaging, both of these elements eventually sort themselves out and the film does evolve into a highly effective conspiracy thriller. We might not want the constant cutting and juddering of the camera in the opening, but by the time we reach the big chase in the last half hour we have become used to it and the technique makes a lot more sense.

When Jason Isaacs was promoting Green Zone, he remarked at how Greengrass' organic technique has been poorly imitated since the success of the Bourne films. Many films he had worked on, he said, aimed to be like the Bourne films, only to be shot in a conventional way but with the camera being deliberately juddered or scenes shot out of focus. It is fair to say that the pale imitations of 'shaky camera' have become so commonplace that when the real thing returns it could be treated with suspicion. The fact remains that Green Zone is the real deal - proper, organic filmmaking, directed with intelligence and integrity for both actors and audience.

As for the familiarity with the plot, this is a combination of two factors. On the one hand, we have the generic outline of a conspiracy thriller, which typically involves our protagonist becoming embroiled in a series of ever-darkening circumstances which leads him to the centre of an elaborate web. On the other hand, we have the varying accounts of and reports into the Iraq War, and the spectrum of public opinion - including a great many people who believe, like the film, that the war was fought and justified under false pretences.

But just as the Bourne series took the familiar elements of the spy thriller and cleverly inverted them, so it makes sense to make a film about Iraq which is centred around the idea of a conspiracy. Sure, not every film about the war should be an exercise in finger-pointing or creating hate figures. But because Green Zone focuses so tightly around the search for WMDs and the nature of intelligence, shooting and structuring it like a thriller does the material more justice. The film is meticulous researched, so that even the most outlandish moments feel grounded in reality. Only Greengrass could have gotten away with the scenes by the swimming pool in the Imperial Palace, or Jason Isaacs' Village People moustache.

Sticking with the Bourne comparison, the film departs from the conventional thriller in the nature of the antagonist our hero is facing. The Bourne films, but Ultimatum especially, played upon the idea of modern good and evil being fragmented, with the various security agencies fighting as much amongst themselves as they were against any 'common enemy'. The thesis of Green Zone is that the war was fought not simply on the whim of power-mad politicians, but on bad journalism. It depicts a network of denial and self-deception which stretches right to the top, and every individual's crime is that they simply didn't question what they were told or where it came from.

What this allows Greengrass to do is to take a subject matter which is familiar to many and add a vital air of unpredictability. To simply have Chief Warrant Officer Roy Miller going on a one-man crusade against his government would be entertaining up to a point but not especially insightful. So in addition to the shady presence of Greg Kinnear, we have the double-agent stand-ins that are the Special Forces (Mr. Isaacs and company), along with the mixed loyalties of the Iraqi citizens themselves. The only real foundation of hope (excluding Matt Damon) is Brendan Gleeson's sympathetic CIA agent, and his power is virtually eliminated halfway through.

Green Zone's central message is this: no kind of information can be taken for granted. Just because something is said to be true by a large number of people, that does not make it automatically true. This may seem like cod postmodernism, but it is a poignant commentary not just on modern journalism, but on the information age as a whole. With so much data being made readily available, it is now easier than ever before to spread rumours, myths, half-truths and downright lies. The whole idea of collaborative history and social commentary, through Wikipedia and social networking, is immensely attractive. But the film clearly warns about the dangers of accepting truth by consensus rather than through meticulous individual soul-searching.

Green Zone is an entertaining, compelling and highly intelligent thriller with a series of solid performances. Matt Damon continues his good run from Invictus with a convincing portrayal, which puts fairly clear water between him and Jason Bourne. It isn't a great film by any means; certainly the lacklustre opening makes it pale in comparison to both The Bourne Ultimatum and United 93. But it is so much more than just another Iraq conspiracy movie, and it deserves to be seen.
Super Reviewer
October 3, 2010
This movie wouldn't have been that bad if it wasn't built around the no shit premise of (caution SPOILERS) there were no actual WMD's in Iraq. I was amazed at how they kept coming back to this as a plot point as if no one in the audience realized this was true and hasn't known this from the minute the war started. It's as if the liberals are trying to dumb down their message so the conservatives can see their point. I mean, maybe it's just bad timing, but I really wasn't that impressed with Damon in this one. The whole time I was watching him I felt an air of self importance in every line as if he was sending a message while doing a terrible Jason Bourne impression.
Super Reviewer
September 19, 2010
Eh. Okay. Better off watching some Bourne.
Super Reviewer
March 9, 2010
This film may be based on factual people and events, but it's bast to look at it as a fictional thriiler with broad connections to relatively recent history. Considering the director, star, and shooting style, it seems appropriate to lbel this as a "Jason Bourne in Baghdad" type of thing. And really, that's pretty much what it is. It's the fact that the events are based on reality is what are causing people to wrongly call it "anti-American".

It does push sime conspiracy theory type stuff, and it's a bit pushy with a lesson or message, but this is still an entertaining, sharp, thought-povoking, and intense wartime thriller. The shakey cam style of shooting adds realism and a documentary style feel to things, but it mostly works well and is effective at accomplishing its goal. Occasionaly it gets distracting, but not a whole lot (to me at least). Unlike Public Enemies, the graininess of the HD is mostly easy to ignore and isn't a problem.

The performances are pretty good, and Damon once again proves he's a terrific dramatic action star. You really feel the paranoia and frustration his character goes through on his quest to accomplish his mission and discover the truth, Ryan, Gleeson, and Kinnear are also really good in their respective roles.

While this isn't a perfect film, it's pretty damn good, and a welcome addition to the growing number of films tackling 9/11 and post-911 events and issues.
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