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Movie Review: Green Zone

Alternate Title: Fog of War

Story: I am a political junkie. There - I said it. I closely follow policy and politics and when they are depicted up on the big screen as well as they are in this latest political thriller from director Paul Greengrass I want everyone to know about it. The film was written by Brian Helgeland and loosely inspired by the book “Imperial Life in the Emerald City” by Rajiv Chandrasekaran.

It is March 2003 and the campaign of shock and awe is fully engaged in Iraq. Chief Warrant Officer Roy Miller and his men have the job of finding the WMD's that intel has assured them were present and the reason for invading Iraq. Much to their dismay, the places they are sent sadly result in finding no WMD's and also result in troop casualties. The intel is obviously faulty. Miller ultimately goes 'off reservation' and attempts to uncover the people responsible for these errors and to 'right' what he sees as 'wrongs'.

This film does have a point of view and it does not gloss over the real life people who were responsible for this disaster. If you followed the war closely, as I did, it was easy to spot the alter-personas depicted in the film. Judith Miller, the New York Times writer, Paul Bremmer, Bush's man in charge and Ahmed Chalabi who supplied false intel might as well have had name tags on their backs. Rumor has it that Miller's role was based on Monty Gonzales, who was one of the films' consultants along with 150 real Iraqi war vets as soliders. Then again, for those that do not have any political interest and just like an action packed war movie, you will leave the theater 'entertained' and never be the wiser.

Greenglass employs his usual handheld camera technique that is both exhausting and engaging to watch. The action in the streets seems very real. Greenglass worked with Matt Damon on two of the 'Bourne' films and there were a few times that I mentally thought I was watching Jason Bourne as he crisscrossed highways and biways to get the bad guys.

My movie buddy did not feel the same way as I did about this film and I reminded him that in 10 years times, when the fog of war envelops this era, it is films like this that might remind those memory challenged of what really happened.

Watch the trailer here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iSX7LaFtwIU

Acting: Matt Damon as Chief Warrant Officer Roy Miller delivers his usual smart, believable performance. Greg Kinnear as Clark Poundstone does the snake oil salesman role perfectly. Brendan Gleeson as CIA operative Martin Brown was uncharacteristically muted. Amy Ryan as reporter Lawrie Dayne was just okay. Khalid Abdalla as Freddy, also played one of the hijackers in Greenglass' United 93' was the conscience of a nation. Igal Naor as General Al Rawi was good as was mean Jason Isaacs as Lieutenant Briggs.

Trivia: Director Paul Greenglass uses the handheld camera to provoke realism. Co-author of the infamous book "Spycatcher" which was banned by the British government in the mid 80s for revealing insights into how the British Secret Service (MI5) operated. Other Greenglass films include: Resurrected (1989) The One That Got Away (1996) The Theory of Flight (1998) The Murder of Stephen Lawrence (1999) Bloody Sunday (2002) The Bourne Supremacy (2004) United 93 (2006) The Bourne Ultimatum (2007)

Predilection: I like Matt Damon and Paul Greenglass.

Critters: Scary German Shepards as prison guard dogs, a donkey and many street dogs.

Food: No time to eat.

Sex Spectrum: None

Soundtrack: Raw, pounding and appropriate.

Opening Titles: Some action and then just the name of the film. All other credits are at the end.

Visual Art: Filmed in Morocco and Spain the attention to detail seemed real enough to me.

Theater Audience: About 20 guys and me. It is a heavy on the testosterone kind of film.

Sappy Factor: 0

Quirky Meter: 0

Squirm Scale: 1 -The prison scenes were very squirmy.

Drift Factor: I paid attention throughout.

Predictability Level: High

Tissue Usage: 0

Oscar Worthy: Probably not.

Big Screen or Rental: Go for the big screen

Length: Two action packed hours.