The Bourne Iraq: Preposterously Entertaining

The political grandstanding in Green Zone, an action thriller set near the beginning of the Iraq War, is rather pedestrian (there are no weapons of mass destruction—that's so wrong!), and the film's premise is simply preposterous (an Army officer with a conscience goes on an almost one-man crusade to uncover the conspiracy behind the nonexistent WMDs that led to war, and he brings the truth to the American people after kicking ass all up and down the Middle East!).

But forget all that, people! Haven't you seen the commercials for Green Zone?! Much is made of the fact that the movie comes to us courtesy of The Bourne Supremacy/The Bourne Ultimatum team of actor Matt Damon and director Paul Greengrass. Green Zone, you see, is basically The Bourne Iraq!

All this is to say, with the horrific mess of Iraq in the back of my mind, I felt a little uneasy that Green Zone is such an efficient and entertaining action movie. You see, I love the Bourne franchise, and Supremacy is one of my favorite movies of all time, but those films are essentially devoid of political implications in the real world (or any that you'd hang on to after you leave the theater anyway). They're fantasies of the highest Hollywood order (Jason Bourne kills somebody with a rolled-up magazine, for Christ's sake!).

But Green Zone is grounded in a real war and real suffering, and to see Matt Damon kicking ass and emerging triumphant...well...I just don't know. But, man, Greengrass sure knows how to stage an action sequence—they're all tense and pulse-pounding.

I should mention that the unexpectedly moving supporting turn by Khalid Abdalla as an Iraqi citizen who assists in the mission is a revelation. His short plea for the future of his country is heartbreaking.

But don't think about that! Look! Explosions! Yay!

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