Mixed Reviews for ‘Green Zone’

Here’s an update on “Green Zone,” out today from Universal Studios. From the film’s website:

It is 2003, and U.S. Army Chief Warrant Officer Roy Miller and his team of inspectors have been dispatched by their commanders to find weapons 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 instead stumble upon an elaborate cover-up that subverts 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. At this blistering time and in this combustible place, he will find the most elusive weapon of all is the truth.

As usual, leftist Kenneth Turan, at L.A. Times, gushes over another America-bashing production: “Movie Review: ‘Green Zone’.” And then there’s Turan’s fellow traveler at the Times, Patrick Goldstein, with: “Is ‘Green Zone’ Really Appallingly Anti-American?.” Goldstein in turn attacks media critic Kyle Smith as “frothing at the mouth.” And then Smith responds with ” Get Me a Straitjacket. Disliking “Green Zone” Is Crazy.”

Beyond that, I doubt you’ll find a more realistic review than Ray Greene’s at Box Office. See, “Green Zone: Paul Greengrass and Matt Damon re-team for a Mutated Jumble of Action Movie Violence and Liberal Self-Congratulation“:

Green Zone is an exercise in commercial cowardice masquerading as a thriller about political bravery. A film at odds not just with recent history but also with itself, it’s been filmed like an action movie but scripted at times like a sequel to Syriana. It’s hard to imagine the testosterone set wanting to swallow so much half-baked commentary on American incompetence with their gunfire, chase scenes and explosions. Unless the studio’s overt campaign to make people think this is an unofficial entrée in the Bourne franchise proves effective, Green Zone will open well based on star power and then do a fast fade.

If the credits can be believed, Green Zone was at some point supposed to be an adaptation of Rajiv Chandrasekaran’s multi award-winning Baghdad memoir Imperial Life in the Emerald City, a non-fiction account of American military and political hubris in the immediate aftermath of the Iraqi army’s quick surrender back in 2003. Those were heady days for the Bush Administration, just before Iraqi political factionalism, a sustained and unanticipated guerilla war and the proliferation of roadside bombing made a mockery of George W. Bush’s premature announcement of “Mission accomplished!” on the deck of the USS Lincoln. Afterward came the long and bloody slog that continues to this day.

The book stuck to the facts and named names. Chief among them was L. Paul Bremer, the American administrator who, for one disastrous year, governed the seemingly conquered Iraqi nation with emperor-like powers akin to Douglas MacArthur’s in Japan after WWII. Bremer’s most notorious decision was to announce the dissolution by fiat of Iraq’s defeated army, a brutal arm of the deposed Ba’athist regime, but also, according to books such as Bob Woodward’s bestselling State of Denial, the only force with any hope of imposing order on a sprawling, ethnic powder keg of a country. Woodward’s research indicated the vanquished military men were willing to make a deal. Bremer’s sweeping decision therefore drove what was arguably the most heavily armed and highly trained Arab military force in the Middle East into a posture of violent resistance to American aims. The results were chaos, violence and quagmire, and they remain so today.

Somewhere during the process euphemistically known as “story development,” Imperial Life morphed into a queasy, self-righteous repackaging of hardware-worshipping thriller shtick and lone gun vigilante histrionics, served up with a dollop of liberal handwringing just large enough to convince the film’s makers they’re doing something “important,” and maybe even courageous …

More at the link.

Cross-posted from American Power.

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