Matt Damon and director Paul Greengrass team up again and they’ve brought their shaky, handheld camera along. It’s Jason Bourne in a non-Jason Bourne movie, but it stands right up there with those films. Based on Rajiv Chandrasekran’s book, it takes place during the early days of the Iraq war. Damon is Army Chief Roy Miller, baffled by poor intelligence that has so far led to squat in the WMD department. He soon finds himself in the middle of two opposing agendas.
Helped by CIA Chief to Baghdad Martin Brown (Brendan Gleeson) and hindered by Special Intelligence Coordinator, Clark Poundstone (Greg Kinnear), Miller soon must go off the grid in order to find “Magellan,” an Iraqi official who may or may not be providing false intelligence. Amy Ryan also shows up as a journalist in Judith Miller clothing. Lensed by the always hyperactive Greengrasss (‘United 93’), “Green Zone” is a raw and breathlessly plotted thriller that captures the chaos on the ground, the intensity of every mission, and the suspense waiting in every Baghdad back-alley, bunker, etc. The action is immensely entertaining, especially the final nail-biting fire fight. Of course we know about the WMDs now but Brian Helgeland’s screenplay is still loaded with intriguing Iraqi politics, and questions about responsible journalism and governmental deception that still resonate today. Matt Damon again proves himself a bourne action hero and he anchors the movie with a determined and intelligent performance. Kinnear, as the slick politician who won’t let anything interfere with bringing change to Iraq, and Gleeson, as the gruff CIA chief who thinks this change stuff is a bunch of crap, are both terrific. Khallid Abdalla also turns in strong work as an Iraqi citizen eager to do what’s right for his country. “Green Zone” is first a great action flick, but with a strong story to boot.