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Green Zone


Stars: Matt Damon, Greg Kinnear, Brendan Gleeson, Khalid Abdullah, Igal Nayor

Director: Paul Greengrass

It's hard to know whose side to be on, in this action drama set in Iraq a month after the war has started in 2003. The Iraqi military, Iraqi patriots, 'good' American soldiers, CIA agents (led by Gleeson) and devious US politicians (headed by Kinnear), all have claims to our sympathy with their individual aims - even though we may condemn the means.

Damon plays Chief Warrant Officer Roy Miller, becoming increasingly frustrated at finding no weapons of mass destruction, as the designated sites he's assigned to clear prove no more than empty warehouses. He finds himself in the middle of various scheming and warring factions triggered by the arrival of local Iraqi 'Freddy' (Abdullah), who points Miller in the direction of one of Saddam Hossein's top men (Nayor).

Nayor proves to be the source of information given to the Americans about WMD, although what he told them may not be what was passed on by his US contact.

Director Greengrass keeps the film lively, with lots of firefight action, and Kinnear plays his slimy politico with relish. But it's somehow hard to get involved in it all, since we know what will - or rather, what will not - come out of it, and individual plot elements aren't sufficiently gripping to overcome this deficiency.

David Quinlan

USA 2009. UK Distributor: Universal. Colour by Soho Film Lab.
113 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 1, Drugs 0, Swearing 2.

Review date: 11 Mar 2010