Chief Warrant Officer Roy Miller has been used to simply taking orders but is starting to get frustrated by a series of failed attempts to discover weapons of mass destruction. Intel has been leading them throughout Iraq but none of the sites have turned up a single clue and generally appear to be abandoned locations used as diversions. After speaking up during the next briefing, Roy believes he is doomed to continue following the same failed orders that have failed to produce. At his next dig site, a mob of angry locals have gathered to express their frustration with the military’s activity. After recovering an Iraqi from getting roughed up by his platoon, he learns that high-ranking Iraqi military officials and political leaders are meeting privately to overtake the American occupation and control the political landscape. Along with Freddy as his interpreter and assistant, Roy splits off from his orders in an effort to find a mission of more value to the American-Iraqi war effort. Finding the Jack of Clubs, General Al Rawi, he is determined to uncover the general as the informant for American intel who is leading the effort astray.
Starring: Matt Damon (Chief Warrant Officer Roy Miller), Jason Isaacs (Briggs), Said Faraj (Seyyed Hamza), Nicoye Banks (Perry), Jerry Della Salla (Wilkins), Sean Huze (Conway), Raad Rawi (Ahmed Zubaidi), Amy Ryan (Lawrie Dayne), Greg Kinnear (Clark Poundstone), Michael O’Neill (Col. Bethel), Paul Rieckhoff (Gonzales), Khalid Abdalla (Freddy), Soumaya Akaaboune (Sanaa)
As the central focus for the war movie, Matt Damon bulked up to be a believable military chief and merged in a bit of his Bourne persona in the pursuit of the truth with weapons of mass destruction. While he is on a mission and focused on taking down a villainous Iraqi leader, he shows a sense of growth in humility as he pursues the general with his Iraqi partner. Serving as that counterpart, Khalid Abdalla bring a sense of humanity to the Iraqi perspective. While most people understand that the general population is not evil, there is a little curiosity about the feelings of the average Iraqi citizen and their hopes about their nation, as porttrayed by Abdalla. Pushing Damon in the direction of Al Rawi, Brendan Gleeson has a relentlessness and seediness about the way he does business but marries that with a positive focus on discovering the truth about the false intel. Greg Kinnear comes off mostly stoic and determined to stick to “the mission,” but his control issues portrayed are highlighted well through his interactions with Damon. Amy Ryan sneaks in an appearance as the intel investigator who helps to steer Damon’s curiosity about the bad intel toward the investigation of the truth.
Though not as combat-focused as other recent war films like Black Hawk Down and Hurt Locker, Paul Greengrass’s film focuses more on the mystery of the weapons of mass destruction. As Roy Miller has been on the hunt for some time, he has become very suspicious of the true purpose of his squad’s orders. As the missions continue to turn up nothing, he believes there must be a hidden agenda behind the stream of poor intel. Back home, most Americans in real life were feeling a lot of the same frustration. As news reports kept highlighting failed inspections of Iraqi facilities by UN officials, there was a growing sentiment across the country that Americans were being led astray by the government and military for ulterior motives of political control and resource acquisition. Greengrass tries to highlight this through the competing units led by Martin Brown (Gleeson) and Clark Poundstone (Kinnear). Meanwhile, reporters like Lawrie Dayne (Ryan) came across like conspiracy theorist and were not getting taken seriously.
Greengrass also highlighted the internal struggle of the Iraqi people through several of its characters. In particular, Al Rawi (Yigal Naor) seems to be a catalyst and a magnet for political opportunity. His involvement in a secret meeting reveals his clout among his political friends. In contrast, Freddy represents the general Iraqi citizen: angry and determined to find peace in a harsh land. He willingly helps the American military in an effort to get rid of the oppressive secret political regime attempting to replace Saddam’s style of rule. He is determined to take down Al Rawi himself but also feels stifled by his hesitations for commit the act.
Although Green Zone may get a little confusing, the search for WMDs was confusing in real life. This film is an interesting take on the real challenges with military missions and current events in the Iraqi war zone.
Dan’s Rating: 3.0/5