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With: Matt Damon, Greg Kinnear, Amy Ryan, Brendan Gleeson, Khalid Abdalla, Jason Isaacs, Yigal Naor (Igal Naor)
Written by: Brian Helgeland, based on a book by Rajiv Chandrasekaran
Directed by: Paul Greengrass
MPAA Rating: R for violence and language
Running Time: 115
Date: 02/26/2010

Green Zone (2010)

2 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Why Are We Here?

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

After two "issue movies" (Bloody Sunday, United 93) and two popcorn thrillers (The Bourne Supremacy, The Bourne Ultimatum), director Paul Greengrass tries for a merging of the two styles with Green Zone, which also reunites him with his Bourne star Matt Damon.

Based on a non-fiction book by Rajiv Chandrasekaran, the new movie is a fictionalized tale with fictionalized characters, set in a real place: Iraq in 2003.

Damon plays Chief Warrant Officer Roy Miller, whose job is to venture into dangerous areas to find WMD, but never seems to find any. Just as Miller begins to wonder what's going on, he gets a tip that leads to one of the men on the "most wanted" list, General Al Rawi (Igal Naor).

Unfortunately, the General is the key to something more sinister, and both Pentagon Special Intelligence man Clark Poundstone (Greg Kinnear) and CIA Baghdad bureau chief Martin Brown (Brendan Gleeson) want him for different reasons.

It all turns into a chase, and a fairly unintelligible one at that, as Greengrass' usual superb shaky-cam style falters and falls into confusion. Not to mention that much of Brian Helgeland's script relies on dumb coincidence and barely believable plot devices, like the "black book" that happens to list all of the general's safe houses.

But I have to admit that, for about an hour, the movie had me in its clutches, and it may be the first Iraq War movie to entice large numbers of viewers. If that's the case, then Greengrass' well-placed theme may reach farther and wider than it ever would have during the Bush Administration.

The normally excellent Amy Ryan plays a Wall Street Journal reporter without much do to.

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