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Friday, March 12, 2010

No stopping in the Green Zone

click to enlarge Special Forces Lt. Col. Briggs (Jason Isaacs, left) and Chief Warrant Officer Roy Miller (Matt Damon) in Green Zone
  • Special Forces Lt. Col. Briggs (Jason Isaacs, left) and Chief Warrant Officer Roy Miller (Matt Damon) in Green Zone

Lucky timing delivers Green Zone to theaters the same week The Hurt Locker won six Academy Awards. Both of the high-testosterone, heavy-ordnance action flicks find thrills in the Iraq War, so they serve as bookends, even though they maintain diametrically opposite tones. The Hurt Locker ignored politics to focus on a 1994 Baghdad bomb-disposal unit. It zeroed in so closely on the process of locating and defusing explosives that its deliberate pace generated nerve-wracking suspense.

Where The Hurt Locker lights a slow fuse, Green Zone’s jittery, propulsive narrative goes off more like a string of firecrackers. Director Paul Greengrass applies the same choppy editing and shaky-cam techniques of his Bourne movies to the search for WMDs in the immediate aftermath of the U.S.’s 1993 invasion of Iraq. Compared to The Hurt Locker’s apolitical stance, Green Zone takes aim at Bush administration decisions that mishandled the Iraqi occupation. It’s like the devastating documentary No End in Sight, remade as a slam-bang action flick.

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(Photo by Jasin Boland)

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