March 12, 2010

The Trouble With "Green Zone"

I'll have more in my review published next week, but oh lord did I hate this movie. Why must filmmakers tell stories about very recent history, and change, literally, all of the details? Anyone who's read as much as one book about the Iraq war- even the one the movie is allegedly based on- will notice how wrong it is. A whole of lot of horrible things went into the decision to invade Iraq- so why make up whole new, fake ones?

What really happened to lead us to the Iraq War, as last year's great "In the Loop" made clear, was a combination of dishonesty, incompetence, cowardice and wishful thinking, among dozens of people at many levels of government in more than one country.

"Green Zone" reduces all that to one evil guy lying, and the one evil guy isn't even George Bush or Dick Cheney. It's a fictional bureaucrat, played by Greg Kinnear, who's like a one man Rumsfeld/Feith/Bremer/Libby, a midlevel civilian bureaucrat who for some reason has the power to order troops into battle. Matt Damon- his "Stuck on You" costar- is an all-purpose white knight hero, who not only searches in vain for WMDs, and then uncovers the whole conspiracy all by himself.

The howlers are plentiful- the Judith Miller character works not for the Times but the Wall Street Journal- whose Web site is now There's a character based on the notorious WMD informant "Curveball," except that every single thing about him is different.

And altogether, what's the point here? To expose the perfidy of the Bush Administration lying about WMD? I think we're about five years too late for that.

Now, I'm the most anti-shakycam critic in the world, but the overuse of shakycam (by one of its inventors, Paul Greengrass) wasn't even close to the biggest problem here. The Tomatometer is 50/50 on this one; that's way too kind if you ask me.

Posted by Stephen Silver at March 12, 2010 04:18 PM
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