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Rollofellow Infiltrates Paul Greengrass's GREEN ZONE!!!

Beaks here...

Can Paul Greengrass and Matt Damon beat the Iraq War movie jinx? With GREEN ZONE, a very loose adaptation of Rajiv Chandrasekaran's IMPERIAL LIFE IN THE EMERALD CITY, they're at least working from one of the best, most measured documents of the war's mismanagement. Still, I'm not sure quality has anything to do with audiences staying away in droves; mostly, I think they're waiting for something resembling a definitive end to the conflict before they consider the hows and whys. After all, the first wave of Vietnam films (COMING HOME, THE DEER HUNTER and APOCALYPSE NOW, etc.) didn't hit until a few years after the fall of Saigon. GREEN ZONE is still without a solid 2009 release date, but if it's as good as the below review indicates (and this backs up some positive murmurings I heard a month or so ago), then I'm sure it'll get a major awards push from Universal this fall (to atone for the Best Picture nomination denied Greengrass's UNITED 93). Along with Damon, it's got some very Oscar-friendly cast members (e.g. Amy Ryan and Greg Kinnear), and a screenplay from Brian Helgeland (who won a richly deserved Academy Award for his adaptation of L.A. CONFIDENTIAL). This film is lousy with potential.

Went to a screening of the Paul Greengrass/Matt Damon film GREEN ZONE in Paramus tonight. It’s a movie based on a book about the search for WMD across Iraq, which to me at this juncture seems like a bit of a moot point (we know there weren’t any) but this movie is well made at every level if a bit too dense and talky in parts. Its worth seeing just to watch how it all went so wrong. Okay, let me attempt a stab at plot summary: Damon plays Chief Miller who runs an ops party searching for WMD. But after many a bloody gun battle, Damon’s team makes it into the supposed WMD sites to find nothing time after time. When he reports to his superiors back in the ‘Green Zone’ (the lush area where American officals live outside of Bagdhad – the pace is like a 5 star hotel btw) to tell them that their intel is consistently off, he is immediately censured and told to simply follow orders. At this point we check in with Bush Administrative official Greg Kinnear who is busy plotting to install a new government to be hand picked by America themselves. Meanwhile, CIA agent Brendab Gleeson is fighting with Kinnear as ALL American intel (which we know is all wrong) has been given by one single source: some mysterious figure named Magellan. Soon enough, Damon and Gleeson team up to uncover this fraudulent Magellan character as well as the search for the real location of WMD. If you know your current events you will know the GIANT reveal that comes halfway through the movie. If you don’t, I’m not gonna be a spoiler. Greengrass is always a first rate director and the movie plays like BLACK HAWK DOWN with an incredibly intricate political mystery at its core. It’s a lot to take in: action movie, mystery, political and social commentary. And I will probably have to go see it again to absorb all it was throwing at me. Damon is always great. Never playing righteous, more just frustrated that his missions are all bullshit and he knows he’s being lied to. Greg Kinnear has always annoyed me so I guess he’s well cast as a bureaucratic asshole here. An interesting character is Amy Ryan’s Wall Street reporter, who is always over Kinnear’s shoulder waiting to interview this mysterious Magellan (whom he always keeps just out of reach to hold control over her). When Damon finally corners her, we realize she’s literally been quoting someone she’s never met (taking it all from Kinnear instead) therefore she and the WSJ are indeed complicit in this false reasoning for going to war. If this is based on a non-fiction book which I believe it is than that’s pretty scary. In an effort to get the scoop first, reporters were printing anything they were spoon fed. I enjoyed this film, dense as it is. To be fair, one really can’t say its confusing because its very clear in its points. I’d just advise you all to drink a lot of coffee before you sit down to watch it. Thanks, Rollofellow

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