Sunday, July 18, 2010

Green Zone (Paul Greengrass, 2010) -- C-

The questionable politcal polemics of Paul Greengrass' Green Zone is superseded by his incoherent visual style, cutting every two to three seconds (even on something as simple as two characters walking into a building) in an attempt to solidify himself as an auteur, with a distinct style of his own. Nothing new for Greengrass following his Bourne films, but at least they didn't export action movie cliches into a true war zone, here Baghdad in 2003 as military man Miller (Matt Damon) unsuccessfully searches for WMD's. The most offensive aspect of Greengrass' conceit is that he lambastes and indulges his war torn environment simultaneously, with an almost sado-masochistic joy in toying not only with his characters, but the viewer. An interpreter is humiliated by having a prosthetic leg, then delivers a trite speech about his own patriotism and loyalty in an attempt to provide balance and objectivity. Yet it's merely a Greengrass ploy to embed his leftist agenda into action tropes without transparency...he fails. So too do lines like Greg Kinnear's villainous government official saying "democracy is messy," or silly macho-bullshit imperatives, like Damon yelling to a fellow soldier, "put your fucking game face on!" Combining a non-aesthetic with unappealing and condescending political rhetoric, Green Zone confirms Greengrass a hack, without any true sense of movement, space, composition, discourse, or good taste.

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