Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

Green Zone


Paul Greengrass directed some amazing films, including United 93 and the second and third Bourne movies. This one did many of the right things, but it didn’t quite connect with me. It’s a political film, and I applied my sure-fire formula for political movies: If the Wall Street Journal hates it, then the movie is truthful. At Metacritic, the WSJ’s review was right at the bottom. QED. But just because you got it right doesn’t mean it was worth doing. It’s shortly after the beginning of that monumental clusterfuck called Operation Iraqi Freedom, while the smart boys and girls in Washington and the Green Zone—a palatial spa for pampered CIA and State Department degenerates while outside Iraqis weren’t even getting enough water—still thought they were on top of things, before their idiot decisions brought the world down on their fucking stupid heads. It shows how it all went down. We even see that treasonous asshole Bush on the aircraft carrier declaring the end of combat operations. We see all the horrors, large and small, from torturing prisoners to the imaginary WMDs. And I kept thinking, okay, we all know how this is going to come out. Our boy, Matt Damon, will fail in his mission to stop the situation from going to hell. This is a big strike against any movie, knowing all the action is futile. It can be done—hell, Greengrass did it himself in United 93—but it’s very hard. We know they lied, we know they flat-out made up the WMD intelligence—treason in itself, as if they hadn’t done anything else wrong or illegal—and even worse, we know that those who did it will not be punished for it. They were exposed, it’s a done deal, ancient history, everyone knows there were no WMDs, they were caught red-handed … and still Cheney insists there were. This is so depressing. I still might have liked it, but at the end Greengrass, who has a tendency for shakycam “immediacy” but so far has kept it within bounds, completely lost it and the final fight degenerated into unintelligible and boring explosions, blurred images, gunfire, and extremely short cuts. For the entire last half hour I had very little idea what was going on. I swear, I can fall dead asleep in action scenes like that.