Sunday, 29 November 2009

Worst. Criticism. Ever.

I'm quite looking forward to the new movie year. I always do because no matter how pessimistic I get there's always something that has the potential to be amazing. One film coming out next year that's really jumping off the page at me at the moment is Green Zone, the film that sees Paul Greengrass and Matt Damon teaming up again to tackle the Iraq war.

The trailer hit a few weeks back and looked very impressive but there was a disgruntled murmur going around that it looked just like Bourne in Iraq. Corrupt government employees, rogue Matt Damon, mysterious MacGuffins, shaky cams and brutal fistfights; they're all there, just in a desert setting. I see where people are coming from, but my question is so what?

Of course it is going to look familiar. Bourne is the roll Matt Damon has become synonymous with (Team America aside) and Paul Greengrass has a very distinct, documentary style of directing that he's made his own and used to great effect in The Bourne Supremacy and The Bourne Ultimatum. He's one of the few directors that can use shaky cam well (see Mark Forster's Quantum of Solace for an example of how not to do it) and it could well be a perfect match for an Iraq war thriller.

Damon and Greengrass have proven to make a good team in the past and it's clear from the trailer that the film is going for the suspenseful, claustrophobic and action-packed feel that they've captured so well before. This doesn't mean they aren't taking risks; Iraq war films have so far proved very difficult to get right. Linger too long on the sobering politics and you lose your audience, skim too lightly over the issues that matter and you lack substance and depth. Most difficult of all, it's proven extremely difficult to make a film about such a controversial war that just happens to be entertaining. If Greengrass can get the balance right it will be some achievement, but he is the man for the job.

If you had any more doubts, just look at the cast. Damon aside, we've got the incredibly underrated Brendan Gleeson, Jason Isaacs and Amy Ryan. If that wasn't enough, it's got Greg Kinnear(!)

Don't get me wrong, I don't want this to be Bourne in Iraq but if some of the style and expert handling of a thriller is translated to the Iraq setting then it is only going to be a good thing. My only hope is Greengrass, Damon et al. don't prove me wrong.

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  1. Hi dude. Just a film fan here. Thought I'd comment on one line from your preview of "The Green Zone" where you write regarding the failure of the Hollywood films on the Iraq war: "Most difficult of all, it's proven extremely difficult to make a film about such a controversial war that just happens to be entertaining." All wars are controversial, and liberal politics aside, controversy should make for excellent filmmaking opportunities. The reason for the failure of the Hollywood films on the subject of the war in Iraq and Afghanistan and the larger war on terrorism is that they never attempted to be good movies; they set out to denigrate the Bush administration by defiling the American military and the politicians who guide it and express their hatred of the Bush policy to destroy Islamic fascism. Americans are miserable enough with the new "war without end," just as it was during Vietnam, another ideological war that could not fail but to disappoint. No good films on the Vietnam war were made either, until well after the war had ended, and none honored the America soldier for many years to come. Had a single film on the Iraq war from Hollywood developed a storyline with an admirable protagonist who makes the ultimate sacrifice to rid the world of the Islamic terrorists who destroy all and blame all but themselves and boldly recognized who the real bad guy really is, rather than the vile anomalies of American soldiers represented (ignorant, cruel, racist, rapists, mentally incapable of handling the war, etc.), Americans would have been moved, gone to see the movie, and be proud. God forbid Hollywood should portray America as a morally righteous nation--and by that I mean morally right, as opposed the mockery the liberal media makes of so-called fundamentalist Christians. Hollywood long ago forgot or refused to believe that America is the greatest nation in the history of planet earth, not because of its wealth and power, but because Americans have sacrificed with their money and their lives on behalf of millions of our precious planet’s humanity with far greater passion and devotion than its critics can counter with tales of militaristic or corporate misdeeds. Did any other nation on earth rush to our help after Katrina? Does anyone remember that the devastation that followed the several hurricanes of Florida in a 10-year period of little respite did not devolve into a pathetic racist rant? Why do Islamic nations refuse our aid when they are swept out to sea each year from the annual floods that reap their horror each year? Hollywood is afraid to tell the truth about the world's most hateful regime, just as it was during WWII. Nazis were not demonized by Hollywood until late into the conflict for fear of being blamed as Jewish antagonists. Same today. No one suffers more from the constant onslaught of Islamic terrorism than the Jewish state of Israel, and yet, Hollywood, still predominantly Jewish, fears to portray the Islamic world as the single greatest threat to human advancement extant. Is there any other regime of thought on earth of concern? Americans will pay to see movies that tell the truth. End of comment. Thanks for the forum.

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