‘Bourne’ Photocopy Weighted in Baghdad Baggage

“Green Zone”
Starring Matt Damon & Khalid Abdalla
Directed By Paul Greengrass
Rated R
01:55

Green Zone” follows patriotic Chief Miller (Matt Damon) on his hunt for weapons of mass destruction through a war-torn Iraq. As its WMD team raids empty warehouses and other abandoned, deteriorating buildings, Miller begins to suspect that the intelligence arriving from undisclosed source “Magellan” are bogus. After a series of dead ends, a tip from local Iraqi Freddy (Khalid Abdalla) leads Miller to a meeting of Saddam’s closest consorts. Moxie-filled Miller follows a blood-spattered road — leading him to a mess of government cover-ups that he’s determined to unveil.

Though “Zone” is bolstered and simultaneously crippled by its close-to-home plot line — revisiting the unraveling Iraq war so soon after the WMD debacle arouses passionate emotions of antagonism from both sides of the political spectrum, it wouldn’t be nearly as emotionally engaging without.

Struggling with its plot, “Green Zone” also wrestles to acquire an identity separate from the latest Bourne films. Fiery explosions, a barrage of bullets and nonstop high-speed chases on foot, in cars and by helicopter whets all the appetites of action-connoisseurs that were left dry once “Bourne Supremacy” finished its theatric run. “Zone” successfully brings the reality of Iraq to the American cinema. Scenes of gritty dirt-covered streets and buildings ravaged with poverty provoke pangs of sympathy — as civilians dash sporadically through the chaos, screeching as their clothing blooms crimson blood. Miller’s trip to the local penitentiary is equally bone-rattling: set to a ominous score, he travels amongst rows of prisoners in squalor each sporting black hoods or beaten so badly that their skin is hanging from their bones. “Zone” adopts its predecessors unpopular attributes as well — the shaky camera hand. A characteristic of Greengrass’ work, the technique is utilized in excess throughout the film, inciting some moments of unpleasant “Cloverfield” vertigo.

Another Greengrass staple, Matt Damon, in his performance as Miller, both successfully and unremarkably walks the blurry line of national loyalty — he never outwardly betrays his country. Instead he confuses his audience, delving into the bowels of the American intel, carving out injustices and shooting up Iraqis like a true patriot. Abdalla’s impassioned performance as Miller’s Iraqi sidekick is the most convincing — his desperate, breathless pleas on behalf of the Iraqi people add humanity to the film’s otherwise holistic bloodbath.

Though ironically un-revolutionary, “Green zone” is an unashamed political action-flick which arouses adequate levels of anxious bile and American humility — doused with just enough dynamite to keep it from becoming too tangled in its own political introspective.

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