Speakeasy has to acknowledge a conflict of interest in regards to “Green Zone,” the new Iraq war film from director Paul Greengrass. Set in American-occupied Baghdad and starring Matt Damon as a do-good officer in search of Weapons of Mass Destruction, the film also features Amy Ryan as a Wall Street Journal reporter who, in her zealous attempt to break a story, is manipulated into doing the bidding of politicians. It’s not a plot point we can get behind.Nevertheless, Damon is first-rate in anything he does and Greengrass, who helmed two Bourne movies, is the most kinetic action director around aside from Luc Besson. For those whose politics lean to the left, there’s also the added bonus of a plot that suggests the Bush administration fabricated the existence of WMD in Iraq to instigate a war.
Maybe, just maybe. Even though “Green Zone” — about a soldier’s dawning realization that there’s more going on than a wild-goose chase for weapons of mass destruction — is mostly a success, it does stray onto a few land mines. Where it succeeds best is as a breathless action thriller; where it falters is as a scathing indictment of America’s Iraq war policy, especially when its characters speak like political pundits. That heavy-handed approach mars the film, especially near its climax.
Regardless of your political leanings — and this movie will divide audiences based on how proudly they display their ideological stripes — there’s no denying that “Green Zone” makes you feel like you’re wandering the streets of Iraq after the war breaks out.