DVD review: ‘Green Zone’Written by Michael Siebenaler | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Matt Damon and director Paul Greengrass (“Bourne Supremacy”) team up again with “Green Zone,” a well constructed Iraqi War action/drama. Set in 2003, Matt Damon stars as U.S. Army chief warrant officer Roy Miller and his squad, played by real Iraq veterans, encounters several unique scenarios. The ‘fiction based on facts’ screenplay, written by Brian Helgeland, is Inspired by the non-fiction book “Imperial Life in the Emerald City: Inside Iraq’s Green Zone” by Rajiv Chandrasekaran, former Washington Post Baghdad bureau chief.
The content and drama are there. It’s basically up to the filmmakers to produce a visual account that audiences will watch…and they deliver. Locations and special acting challenges/performances highlight this well made film. The authentic looking environment obviously involved some special effects work, but it is amazingly blended and executed. Every scene looks realistic giving audience an unprecedented view of Iraq during this major war.
Casting was unique because the fast-paced screenplay does not spend enough time developing each character. These characters contain common clichés and archetypes, but their unpredictable paths sustain a high interest plot. The actors make their roles credible by delivering smart dialogue and creating a realistic physical persona without well-developed character traits. This approach provides a common aura of collective behavior where audiences follow each character’s reasoning behind each action.
Amy Ryan co-stars as a Wall Street Journal reporter; Greg Kinnear plays State Department operative Clark Poundstone and Brendan Gleeson plays a CIA operative. Damon and the other principle actors do their part, but the acting highlights come from Khalid Abdalla, as Freddy, and almost unrecognizable Jason Isaacs (“The Patriot”, “Harry Potter” film series) as Briggs. These two amazing actors achieve memorable character performances as a civilian who becomes quickly involved with Miller’s squad and a talented military veteran who works closely with Poundstone.
Divisions among sides eventually blur as the plot centers on Iraqi general Al Rawi (a.k.a. The Jack of Clubs), well played by Igal Naor, This film puts realism and purpose behind the actions where each battle ultimately reflects ideology not body counts. As with “United 93”, Greengrass has a knack for historical reenactments. These people have passion and filmmakers provide helpful explanations throughout this very personal account of the well-known events. The time span also provides filmmakers some room to ramp up the action. They do not have to be too sensitive about upsetting the audience.
This DVD features a crisp Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound track to enhance the already outstanding military encounters with fiery bass and jabbing sound spikes where audiences can often hear each shot. Spanish, French and an English Descriptive Video Service track are also available. Damon and Greengrass take audience behind-the-scenes with the standard commentary track with approximately 12 minutes of deleted scenes (also available without their commentary). This DVD version also has two main featurettes, “Matt Damon: Ready for Action” and “Inside the Green Zone”. “Ready for Action” is the better of the two, concentrating on the supporting cast which utilized real Iraqi War veterans and current soldiers, particularly within Miller’s squad. Both presentations include location shots, interview sessions, and footage from the actual film. This solidly recommended (***) 115-minute film is rated R for violence and language. Also available on two-disc limited edition Blu-ray with digital copy.