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Green Zone: movie review

Set in US-occupied Baghdad, ‘Green Zone’ confronts the WMD fiasco with Matt Damon playing an Army office tracking down the truth.

By Peter RainerFilm critic / March 12, 2010

Journalist Lawrie Dayne (Amy Ryan, left) questions Chief Warrant Officer Roy Miller (Matt Damon) in the thriller, 'Green Zone.'

Jasin Boland/Courtesy Universal Pictures/MCT/Newscom


Despite its recent Oscar bonanza, “The Hurt Locker” is in line with other Iraq-themed movies that have tanked at the box office, including “Stop-Loss,“In the Valley of Elah,” “Body of Lies,” and “Rendition.” Now along comes “Green Zone,” starring Matt Damon and directed by Paul Greengrass, who also made the last two “Bourne” movies. Action-packed to a fault, it’s clearly intended to break the genre’s cycle of uncommerciality.

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Damon plays Army Chief Officer Roy Miller, whose job it is to hunt down WMDs in the initial shock-and-awe stages of the Iraq invasion. Every location searched by his team draws a blank. When he confronts newly arrived Bush administration honcho Clark Poundstone (Greg Kinnear) with his suspicions about faulty intelligence, his concerns are pooh-poohed.

Miller tracks the bad intel to Wall Street Journal reporter Lawrie Dayne (Amy Ryan), whose reports, drawing exclusively on a confidential source named “Magellan,” back the administrations convictions about the presence of weapons of mass destruction. Stonewalled on all sides, refusing to be co-opted by Poundstone, Miller improbably finds his only ally in Martin Brown (Brendan Gleeson), a burly veteran CIA operative at odds with Poundstone. Acting essentially as his own operative, Miller tracks down the truth, employing a small cadre of allies including a Saddam-loathing local, Freddy (Khalid Abdalla).