Somehow Iraq movies are not really my thing. I don’t know what it is, maybe it’s because none of the try to go for the simple entertainment angle like Vietnam or World war 2 movies sometimes do. All these movies are always dead serious, feature the same photography (almost all of them are filmed in Morocco) and have very grim story lines. There are movies that elevate themselves from the rest, but for every Hurt Locker there are at least two or more The Kingdoms. These movies also never feature any memorable villains, mostly because every Arab shown is screen is presented as a potential suicide bomber.
This is also the case in Green Zone. Filmed in Morocco, it features the same yellow desert sets most other movies do, and by using hand-held cameras like in earlier movies by the director Paul Greengrass, United 93 and the last two Bourne movies, it almost feels like a documentary from time to time. But something happens over the course of the movie as it turns into an interesting game of cat and mouse which actually appealed to me.
A fictional tale, but based upon real events, Green Zone deals with the WMDs that were the reason the US invaded Iraq, or to describe it more perfectly: the none existence of the WMDs. Chief Warrant Officer Roy Miller leads his men to places intel points out to be where they are being kept only to come up empty every time. He starts to question his superiors and because of that a couple of high officials and a journalist takes interest in him. As he finds out what is really going on, he has to go rogue in order to reveal the truth.
At first I was a bit skeptical, this being yet another Iraq movie. I’ve had it with these desert situated movies. They all use the same bleak photography and deal with stereotypical villains; Muslim terrorists. At first sight Green Zone is yet another Iraq movie, but like The Hurt Locker it elevates itself in terms of story and general quality above the rest. It becomes a tense thriller of which the outcome is never clear and even the ending is a surprise.
Director Greengrass and writer Helgeland have succeeded in creating a story with a political theme into a movie that balances between action and thriller. Because it is partially based upon real events it’s hard to see where the fiction starts and ends. The only thing I didn’t buy was how the whole revelation of the truth depended on one American soldier, but that is just a small remark on what is really a high octane thriller.