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Classic Review: Green Zone (2010)

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CAVEAT LECTOR: THIS ARTICLE WILL BE SOMEWHAT POLITICAL IN NATURE DUE TO THE NATURE OF THE FILM AS WELL AS THE REASON FOR ITS SELECTION. VIEWS EXPRESSED ARE NOT NECESSARILY THE VIEWS OF EXAMINER.COM, AXS ENTERTAINMENT OR ITS SUBSIDIARIES.

Well now that that's out of the way...

If readers have been paying attention even badly towards the news from the Middle East, it can still be ascertained that things are not going so well right now. The group "Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant" (shortened to ISIS in media coverage) has taken hold in the countries of Syria and is now taking control of cities and villages in the northern part of the country. In America and the rest of the Western World, there is debate of whether or not the United States should take military action in Iraq to combat ISIS, after finally ending a war in 2011 that lasted eight years and caused many casualties.

It is by no means a stretch to say that the US led invasion of Iraq in 2003 had a lot to do with it, after deposing dictator Saddam Hussein a feeble democracy was set up that alienated some ethnic groups of the country. Therefore, it is by no means entirely the fault of the invasion, a majority of the blame lays on the failure of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to create an inclusive government that would've prevented a re-radicalization of some groups.

But to get at the original conflict, the basis of Green Zone is to go to the early days of the War in Iraq. It is known that the US invaded after suspicion of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) inside Iraq. Hussein had a reputation of having such weapons after he used them against the Iranians and northern Iraqi Kurds in the 80's and 90's. It was also proven beyond a reasonable doubt that he had no such weapons in 2003, and the case for weapons was largely fabricated.

This is where Green Zone begins, Chief Warrant Officer Roy Miller (Matt Damon) is leading the search for finding WMD's in Iraq and is coming up with nothing (to say "come up short" is to say he even found anything). This is the third time he's come up with nothing and is beginning to get frustrated. He is accosted by a CIA agent Martin Brown (Brendan Gleeson) who tells him he will keep finding nothing because the UN found nothing as well months ago.

Another plot begins with journalist Lawrie Dayne (Amy Ryan) investigating the lack of WMD evidence. She wants to see her source who initially sold her the "evidence" on WMD's in Iraq who is code-named "Magellan". Pentagon official Clark Poundstone (Greg Kinnear) impedes her in her journey, possibly hiding secrets of his own.

These two plots converge and combine, weaving a tapestry of truth and enlightenment in a time where we could have needed it.

The acting here is very good, with committed performances by Damon and Gleeson. Also there comes good work form Ryan and Kinnear, who were known primarily for their comic work. These actors try their best, and help the movie a great deal.

Director Paul Greengrass had received plenty of flack for his use of "shaky-cam" (an import of his documentary making days) but it works here. It seems to be the right approach to capture the kind of chaos that was going on in the region during those early days, that have persisted into the present.

Brian Helgeland's script could have been meatier, but it does get it's point across, and it is helped by the ace director an cast.

Some may not call this a "classic" review because it came out only four years ago, however part of this segment is to capture films that serve a cultural purpose. This movie, while it under-performed at the box office and sharply divided critics, has risen as one of the seminal films to watch about the Iraq war. In this vein, this Examiner implores all to see it, it may open some eyes and make some uneasy, but it is for the greater good.

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