MOVIE: *** (out of 5)
BLU-RAY EXPERIENCE: ***1/2 (out of 5)
Directed by: Paul Greengrass
BY KEVIN CARR
WHAT IT’S ABOUT
After two successful Bourne movies, director Paul Greengrass puts Matt Damon back on the front lines with “Green Zone.” Damon stars as a U.S. Army officer trying to track down weapons of mass destruction in the wake of the invasion of Iraq. However, he finds a host of dead ends, government lies and lots of people with guns trying to kill him.
WHAT I LIKED
I’ve been a fan of Paul Greengrass and Matt Damon as a cinematic pair since “The Bourne Supremacy.” While this isn’t a Bourne movie, it has the same feel and energy behind it. What makes “Green Zone” work is the style and passion that Greengrass brings to the project. This is a frenetic and powerful action flick that brings the fight to you.
Hollywood has struggled with their new batch of war films over the past few years, and this one isn’t perfect. But it’s a better effort than presenting the American soldier as a head-case coming home to find his life in shambles and his psyche beaten and bruised.
But the key to “Green Zone” is its action base. Like “The Hurt Locker,” this movie puts the audience at ground zero of the fighting, and that makes it definitely exciting to watch. In many ways, this also reminds me of “Children of Men,” which made me feel the intensity of battle. (Of course, having never been in combat myself, I’m making a lot of assumptions here.)
WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE
The first complaint people have with Greengrass’s films is his frenetic handheld camera movement, and it’s all over the place here. Fortunately, it’s easier to deal with in your home theater than watching the film on a screen 20 feet high. When I saw it in the theaters, I literally had to move to the back of the house to avoid puking up my popcorn. At least on Blu-ray and DVD, this movie is manageable to watch.
The other big problem with “Green Zone” is its preachy political bent. A lot of time is spent in the bonus material trying to convince us that there is no political agenda with the film, but it’s impossible to miss… especially during the resolution. If you can swallow the political pill with this movie and take it as an action flick, you’ll like it. But if you’re looking for a political fight, you’ll find that as well.
The Blu-ray comes with a video commentary with Matt Damon and Paul Greengrass as well as picture-in-picture insight that runs through the whole film and has become a standard feature on most Universal Blu-rays. Additional features include deleted scenes with commentary from Damon and Greengrass (and Greengrass’s son for some strange reason) as well as the featurettes “Matt Damon: Ready for Action” and “Inside the Green Zone.”
WHO’S GOING TO LIKE THIS MOVIE
People who want a Bounre-esque movie and don’t mind a political agenda.