Thoughts on: “Green Zone”
I can understand why “Green Zone” did not click with some people. It touches on many issues that many people don’t want to think about, especially in the context of a mainstream action film. Having watched several documentaries on related topics including, “Taxi to the Dark Side” and “WMD: Weapons of Mass Distraction” I found the reality based context and content of “Green Zone” to be mild.
I enjoyed “Green Zone”. Matt Damon brings an authentic presence to his role as Roy Miller, a disillusioned Chief Warrant Officer charged with finding the non-existent WMDs in Iraq right after the invasion in 2002. Frustrated with the lack of discovery he sets out on his own course to find the truth behind the flawed intelligence.
I am sure that there are those with military experience who could poke holes into my assertion that Damon as Miller has authenticity. As a layman who has never served I defer to them, but that does not change the my perception is that he has validity.
That is the role of film characters and the actors who play them: to bring the perception that the character is reality based even if liberties are taken with some aspects.* If you don’t buy Miller or his motivation then I suspect that the film will tumble like the deck of cards the US Military searches for throughout “Green Zone”.
As with many action films from the Hollywood “Green Zone” has one big flaw: the villain Clark Poundstone. Greg Kinnear, in full smarm mode, plays Poundstone. And while he fits the story the character is too one-dimensional, and feels more like a story construct than a human being. The film would have been served well to add at least a glimmer of humanity to Poundstone, it would have added a layer of depth to the confrontation he has with Miller at the end of the film.
I could see the ending coming a mile away and yet I still felt satisfied with “Green Zone”. Perhaps it was because I did not pay $10.50 for the privilege of seeing it at the multiplex. The context and expectations with which we watch film and media contributes in a big way how we perceive them. As a Saturday Night feature on HBO “Green Zone” works.
I find it crazy that the film is on HBO less than a year after release in the theaters. What a small release window films have nowadays. Next week HBO “premieres” “Repo Men” which has a similar 10 month gap between theaters and HBO. Crazy.
*For example: One of my jobs/roles is a stay-at-home dad. I would never say that Michael Keaton’s character in “Mr. Mom” is authentic to who I am in the same role, but he hits some notes that do ring true. Therefore his character, performance and the film overall work.