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Generally favorable reviews - based on 38 Critics What's this?

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6.6

Generally favorable reviews- based on 195 Ratings

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  • Summary: During the U.S.-led occupation of Baghdad in 2003, Chief Warrant Officer Roy Miller and his team of Army inspectors were dispatched to find weapons of mass destruction believed to be stockpiled in the Iraqi desert. Rocketing from one booby-trapped and treacherous site to the next, the men search for deadly chemical agents but stumble instead upon an elaborate cover-up that inverts the purpose of their mission. Spun by operatives with intersecting agendas, Miller must hunt through covert and faulty intelligence hidden on foreign soil for answers that will either clear a rogue regime or escalate a war in an unstable region. And at this blistering time and in this combustible place, he will find the most elusive weapon of all is the truth. (Universal Pictures) Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 25 out of 38
  2. Negative: 0 out of 38
  1. Reviewed by: Richard Corliss
    Dec 14, 2010
    100
    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.
  2. 80
    When Mr. Greengrass made "United 93," his 2006 reconstruction of one of the Sept. 11 hijackings, some people fretted that it was too soon. My own response to Green Zone is almost exactly the opposite: it's about time.
  3. The cast is strong, and Damon is a dependable center for all this, a classic American good guy wanting to know what's rotten and why.
  4. 63
    The jittery, scattershot camerawork of Greengrass's longtime cinematographer, Barry Ackroyd, was used far more coherently in Kathryn Bigelow's Oscar-winning "The Hurt Locker," and the constant blurry close-ups of computer screens and street-level scrums lose their power with each successive cut.
  5. Partly real and partly, increasingly, fantastic and outlandish in its wishful thinking.
  6. Screenwriter Brian Helgeland (L.A. Confidential, Mystic River) is the real culprit here, creating a crude paint-by-numbers fiction that keeps yelling about the importance of the truth while hurtling in the opposite direction.
  7. 40
    What lends the film its grip and its haste is also what makes it unsatisfactory.

See all 38 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 59 out of 87
  2. Negative: 17 out of 87
  1. Aug 11, 2010
    10
    Paul Greengrass up until around 2001 no one knew whom this Irish up and coming director was that is until he directed the second of the three Bourne films "The Bourne Supremacy"(2004) that became the highest grossing film for the series at that point. one of Greengrass' most critically acclaimed films following on the heels of his universally acclaimed "Bloody Sunday"(2002). Three years later Greengrass directed one of the last decades most acclaimed and most controversial films "United 93"(2006) based on the true story of the heroism of the passengers and there tragic death when they forced the plane into a nose dive causing it to crash near Shanksville, Pennsylvania. The film was a massive critical success but meet with extreme criticism form audiences alike over its touchy source material. The year after Greengrass and actor Matt Damon re-teamed to star and direct the third(and possibly final installment) of the hugely successful Bourne series with the "Bourne Ultimatum"(2007) which proved to be the highest grossing and biggest critically acclaimed hit of the series bringing a crashing final close to the saga of Jason Bourne. For nearly three years Greengrass was working on a new project that while may lack the enthusiasm of his early works is no less thought provoking or thrilling as his earlier works. This film is one of his best and a film that not only gives you the views of why we go to war but if the reasons we do go to war are really for the right reasons. When I first heard of Paul Greengrass' "Green Zone" back in late 2009 I can say that I was extremely excited to see Greengrass and Damon back together again making a big action picture again I could almost picture how this film would have played out in my head(no thanks to my limitless imagination). I saw Damon playing a solider fighting against another Government conspiracy involving some sort of political assassination or cover up that he exposed. I was eager with anticipation however, when I found out the release date of this film my anticipation dwindled. It dwindled not because I found out the film might not be as good as it appears but it dwindled because I would have to wait three months into 2010 to see one of my most anticipated films of 2010. After nearly two months of waiting I finally was able to see Paul Greengrass' "Green Zoneâ Expand
  2. Jul 3, 2011
    9
    A superb film on many accounts: realism, ethics, exposure, acting, environment, photography. I gave it a 9 instead of a 10, because at times it resembles more a journalistic expose rather than a directed script/scenario. But overall "right, riveting, good". Expand
  3. Mar 18, 2012
    7
    Shot in documentary style by Bourne director Paul Greengrass, Green Zone is an excellent thriller. It pulls you in at the outset and doesn't let up at all. The movie's premise is that the intel for the Iraqui War was fraudulent and that we went to war on false pretenses. Not only this, but that certain political factions in Washington knew the intel was false and used it as an excuse to invade the country.

    The movie wiill be liked by those loyal to the administration at the time and to the belief that WMDs existed in Iraq. The movie is not a documentary nor based on fact, but merely gives us this storyline to ponder. For me, it asks the question,: Will we ever know what went on in Iraq?

    Damon is the non-stop action hero out to pursue the truth. While the story is not always believable and is filled with improbabilities, it works well as a thriller and as a film that attempts to show the mass confusion of a country just beginning to fall apart.
    Expand
  4. Sep 25, 2011
    6
    The message and central theme to this movie is one that needs to be told but unfortunately Green Zone's execution of its important messages is lacking. Green Zone looks great and is decently acted but is a little dull and predictable. Perhaps the story lacks the depth and impact to the war in Iraq and how tragic the war really is but in the end the film is ok and worth watching but wont be too memorable. Expand
  5. Apr 9, 2014
    6
    For an action movie starring Matt Damon i was expecting better.But the movie gives some good action scenes.Matt Damon like always is a good actor.The movie is realistic compared to those movie with bad CGI effects. So i was not that disappointed but i expected better. Expand
  6. Feb 29, 2012
    5
    Green Zone makes for an intermittently entertaining conspiracy-based war film. Like all of Paul Greengrass's work, it looks great, the audience is dragged right into the heart of the action, and the hellish images of war-torn Iraq are quite effective. The cast's performances are relatively decent, but by no means exceptional. The only one who really stands out is Khalid Abdalla, who plays "Freddie", an Iraqi ex-soldier and amputee who helps Chief Miller (Damon) to unravel the mystery as to why intelligence on WMD is so unreliable, and why the US went to war in the first place. Abdalla's performance is head-and-shoulders above the rest of the cast - it's complex, emotional and moving. Where Green Zone fails is in its writing, and in the fact that for a political thriller, it has a surprising lack of thrills. While Brian Helgeland's screenplay is perfectly reasonable on face value, it simply isn't brave or clever enough. Instead of having the courage to point the finger of blame for the Iraq War at the real culprits, Helgeland instead chooses to substitute real-world villains with Hollywood creations (Greg Kinnear's morally dubious Pentagon man and Jason Isaacs' brutal handlebar-moustached spec ops commander). While I understand the need for dramatic licence to make a film work as a piece of entertainment (it is not, after all, an informative documentary) I don't understand how Kinnear and Issacs' characters turned out so dull. The real masterminds behind the Iraq war, the politicians that duped us all into thinking there was some sort of justification behind invading Iraq are far more interesting characters than these screen creations, and ultimately far more evil. If only Greengrass and Helgeland had the courage to say something really divisive about the Iraq War, rather than just re-affirming what we already know, that the WMD intelligence was made up, a convenient excuse for toppling an oppressive dictatorship. Even with this unremarkable underlying message, the film could have still stood out if had a decent plot, something to rival the truly great Hollywood conspiracy thrillers. Unfortunately, the story is simple and linear, and you can see the only major twist a mile off. Technically, Green Zone is flawless, and you really feel like you're going into Baghdad with the American soldiers, and living and fighting alongside them - Greengrass is a master of establishing, then maintaining a particular tone in his films. The high-quality cast all do their job, but the only one to really stand out is the excellent Khalid Abdalla, and the filmmakers' characterisation can come across as a little lazy. Greenzone's main problem is that it has not approached its highly controversial subject matter with enough commitment or bravery - nothing new is said, and it doesn't leave you thinking at the end, just non-plussed. Paul Greengrass's latest film is competent but uninspired, diverting but not memorable - in short, nothing special. His Bourne films had far more to say about evil politicians, shady military operations and human rights infringement than Green Zone ever does. Expand
  7. Aug 27, 2010
    0
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Green Zone is an obvious anti-Republican movie aimed at slandering the Bush party's decisions to invade Iraq. It portrays senior Republican leaders as oil-focused fact-creating greedy war-mongers that will do anything to keep the American public believing that WMDs exist in Iraq. From the start, the movie's agenda is painfully obvious as Matt Damon's character, Roy Miller, is in charge of a special task force whose sole purpose is to seek out Iraq's WMDs. As they go from site to site, donning chemical masks and special equipment designed to retrieve them, they constantly come up short. As Miller looks through his intelligence reports, once phrase continues to pop out at him (mostly because it's written in bold red text): "A source has confirmed that chemical and biological weapons are stored..." etc.
    "What's the source?" Miller asks during an intelligence briefing. "These intelligence packets have all been vetted. They're good.", says a high ranking puppet of the Bush party. "You're job's to execute them, not worry about how they're put together." As the movie progresses, we are led to believe that High ranking military officials, senior leaders of Special Intel Units at the Pentagon, and members of the Special Forces are all working together to cover up the truth about the existence of WMD's in Iraq. Do the creators of this movie believe we are all so gullible? Do they honestly think that we are to believe that our senior leaders used made-up intelligence and sacrificed countless American and Iraqi lives as a front to invade Iraq for the sole purpose of tapping into their oil reserves? Though the creators of this movie did not mention oil at all during the course of the film, they made their statement obvious during the ending credits as Damon drives off into the distance with a nice oil refinery backdrop. Again we come across Hollywood's pathetic attempts to use their seemingly countless movie-funds as a weapon against those who are unsure of their political stance, or those just too ignorant to know better. Well I for one am not won over, nor am I fooled.
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