Thursday, Dec. 09, 2010

Green Zone

An expensive flop and the latest Iraq movie to be shunned by the mass audience, Green Zone was still the year's most visceral, thrilling entertainment. Even more than The Hurt Locker (shot by the same cinematographer, Barry Ackroyd), the movie straps the viewer into a Baghdad state of mind, where it's hell at 130°F (54°C), with dust and dread tarping the streets as if to smother anyone who'd attempt to escape. In Brian Helgeland's script, very loosely based on Rajiv Chandrasekaran's nonfiction book Imperial Life in the Emerald City: Inside Iraq's Green Zone, Army Chief Warrant Officer Ray Miller (Matt Damon) realizes soon after the U.S. invasion that the WMD claim was a myth and goes rogue, or Rambo, to discover who's behind the ruse. Politics takes a backseat to fantasy heroism as Miller becomes Bourne again in Baghdad — no surprise, since Green Zone's Paul Greengrass also directed Damon in the past two Jason Bourne films. He lends his new picture the same density and intensity, creating a reality so heightened, it's hallucinogenic.