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Movie Review

Green Zone also known as “Imperial Life in the Emerald City,” “La ciudad de las tormentas”

MPAA Rating: R for violence and language.

Reviewed by: Walter Ruggieri

Extremely Offensive
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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
War, Thriller, Drama
1 hr. 55 min.
Year of Release:
USA Release:
March 12, 2010 (wide—2,900+ theaters)
DVD: June 22, 2010
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Relevant Issues
Copyright, Universal Pictures

IRAQ—What is the significance of Iraq in the Bible? Answer

Spies in the Bible






Final judgment


About Islam—An Overview for Christians

Witnessing to Muslims

Recommended resources

How does the Qur’an compare to the Book of Genesis on the great events of history (Creation, Fall, Flood and confusion of languages)? Answer

War in the Bible


What is the Biblical perspective on war? Answer

Featuring: Matt Damon (Miller), Greg Kinnear (Clark Poundstone), Jason Isaacs (Briggs), Brendan Gleeson (Martin Brown), Yigal Naor (Al Rawi—as Igal Naor), more »
Director: Paul Greengrass—“The Bourne Supremacy,” “The Bourne Ultimatum,” “United 93”
Producer: Universal Pictures, Studio Canal (France), Relativity Media, Working Title Films (UK), Antena 3 Films (Spain), more »
Distributor: Universal Pictures

“Chief Warrant Officer Roy Miller is done following orders”

Inspired by the book: Imperial Life in the Emerald City.

The “Green Zone” is a war movie about Chief Warrant Officer Roy Miller who leads a team of soldiers in search of weapons of mass destruction a few weeks after the invasion of Iraq. After failing to find weapons of mass destruction (WMD), Miller (played by Matt Damon) goes off on his own to discover the truth about the veracity of intelligence regarding WMDs. The movie is full of intrigue, suspense, power plays, turf wars, military and civilian rivalry, twists, and a host of other elements that attempt to create belief in conspiracy, deception, and out right fraud, in regards to weapons of mass destruction and the reason for invading Iraq.

From a technical perspective, “Green Zone” is very well crafted. The movie is well filmed, well acted, well edited, well scored, and clearly well directed. The war scenes felt authentic and realistic. The special effects and stunt work expertly accomplished. The style of filming might not appeal to some though, since it is jarring, fast paced, and chaotic at times (which is the trade mark style of the director Paul Greengrass).

“Green Zone” is a war film, and thus has explicit and graphic violence (including moderate to heavy blood) and profuse profanity (too many occurrences to count, including 10 misuses of God’s names). There is no nudity or sexual immorality, except for a swimming pool scene that includes some women in bikini tops and a few shirtless men.

Unfortunately, “Green Zone” is a typical Hollywood war movie. Since the Vietnam War, Hollywood continues to make war movies mostly from a leftist ideology and perspective. For example, US commanders (and all other officers, no matter what nationality) are depicted as dimwits and only the non-commissioned officers know what to do. Soldiers are always on a worthless mission, not worth dying for. Mostly innocent people die. The US goes to war on a faulty, if not fraudulent, reason. And, of course, those responsible for running the war are morons, imbeciles, political hacks, and outright criminals. “Green Zone” is basically a piece of well filmed political propaganda (which has been done many times before).

In war, there is always “bad stuff.” But, sometimes, war is justified and necessary. If it wasn’t for the sacrifice of our men and women in the military, it would not have been possible to even make “Green Zone”!

Note: To the men and women who have served our nation and are currently serving our nation: thank you, and may God richly bless you.

Violence: Extreme / Profanity: Extreme / Sex/Nudity: Minor

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.

Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Comments below:


Neutral—This movie was very well done from a filmmaking perspective. It had talented actors, was suspenseful, and was exciting. As somebody who knows a bit about the military (I have accepted a full Army ROTC scholarship), I can say that the military aspects of the film were fairly accurate, as well. There was realistic (but not overly gruesome) war violence and foul language, but no sexual content whatsoever. On these merits, it was an excellent film. However, this movie clearly has a leftist bias to it. It paints the picture of an overly aggressive, evil United States who unjustly interferes in the affairs of another sovereign nation. It perhaps reflects poorly on some members of our military and is clearly opposed to the Bush administration.

It is also clearly opposed to the Iraq war (or perhaps only the way we went about it). As a conservative very aware of political issues and ideologies, I usually hate the typical liberal hollywood war movie. But I had mixed feelings about this one. While it was clearly trying to prove a leftist point, it also had valid points about how the United States shouldn’t have abolished the Iraqi Army and some of the others missteps we took in Iraq. It also tied together the fictional plot and characters to real events, which made for an interesting movie if you are educated about the details of the war in Iraq.

All in all, I would recommend this movie. Just be sure to take it with a grain of salt and not accept its portrayal of details surrounding the war to be fact.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Tyler Smotherman, age 18 (USA)
Neutral—This was boring. I loved the Jason Born movies, and this doesn’t even come close. I think this is definately a guy flick, which I like those sometimes, but I just thought this was stupid and boring. Don’t waste your time.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 3
—Samantha Taylor, age 35 (USA)
Negative—Please do not waste your money on this film. It is a dated, far left rebuke of our President and our military. The merit-less script is obviously written by a far left, anti Bush, anti military, manipulating writer and director. You will be very disappointed in this fantasy of a “film.” It portrays itself as a “movie” but is a fact-less based documentary of a far left dreamer. This is a dull, 2 hour political statement, not a movie. Save your money. With new found freedom, the women and children of Iraq are thanking the Americans, not condemning our courageous President.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 3
—John S, age 51 (USA)
Negative—I appreciate the comments made by the reviewers and the commentators, which I read before seeing the movie. I am not surprised that “The Green Zone” was a failure at the box office, despite being a darling of the critics. There are no great technical achievements here. The techniques are a rehash of the Bourne movies. Those movies worked because the mission--I can never quite remember what the mission was, and that’s the point--never got in the way of a tight, fast-paced plot. “The Green Zone” throws some stodgy story elements together, but those bits are predictable and tiresome. Greenglass, Damon and company don’t want to tell a story; they want to use a story, and a flimsy one at that, to preach. But why give a sermon if you’re going to accuse your congregation of accepting a lie at the same time you’re stretching the truth from the pulpit? Why castigate your audience for being afraid of the truth when you run from it yourself?

I had to laugh at the poetic license of letting the New York Times off the hook and making the off-base journalist a writer for the Wall Street Journal? Who’s really afraid of what the powers that be would say? Methinks Greenglass and Damon doth protest too much.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 2
Jim O'Neill, age 57 (USA)
Negative—Just saw this movie. I went into it hearing the opinion that it was Matt’s return to the big screen, like it was going to be just as good—another Bourne movie. It was NOT the case. From a purely technical perspective—it was well done. Much better than many other movies out there from a quality point of view. However—from a story/entertainment perspective, it was really lacking.

I really didn’t like “The Hurt Locker” (not a movie I’d see again), but liked it better than this movie, if that tells anyone anything. It makes a political stance.

Obviously everyone knows there were no WMDs in Iraq. The movie takes that and exploits it, showing government corruption fabricating the intel so that we go into war with Iraq. What the movie itself did not do is give you the WHY. Why did they want to fabricate the intel to invade Iraq? (Note—obviously in the “real world”—people speculate. I’m just saying the movie didn’t have any explanations). So the whole underlying reason of “Why” this plot is playing out is missing, and a big omission. I’ve had 2/5 people that went with us say they were confused by the movie, which is understandable.

The story plot is very terrible, and leaves much to be desired. No sex/nudity here. Violence and Language… It’s a realistic war movie that’s rated R (Although why they rated it for “R” on the Violence side I have no idea—it was not gory). And above all, the bad guys win out at the end of the day. So there wasn’t even a high-point at the ending. Just a disappointing movie, overall. I wouldn’t see it again, nor recommend it to anyone.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 2½
—Zac, age 21 (USA)
Negative—I went to this movie expecting a left wing, anti-Bush movie, which it did seem to be. I would hope and pray that the real American officials before and during the war didn’t deliberately lie to cause the war.

I haven’t seen anyone commenting on the thing about the movie that made it very difficult to watch for me. That was the technique of filming was the hand held camera which was constantly moving and jerking. I may be overly sensitive to motion sickness, but I had to close my eyes a lot while watching this movie, and I would never watch it again for that reason, alone. I guess that it is supposed to make you think you are in on the action. If you get seasick or carsick be careful going to this movie and sit in the back.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 2
—Louis, age 48 (USA)
Negative—What a shame, what could have been a four-star movie, was ruined by the jarring amateurish photography! Everything else about it was outstanding: cast, acting, story, realism, believability. It seemed as if the photographer was a hyper-active kangaroo. It was extremely difficult to focus for most of the movie. It seemed like an amateur was making a poor home movie. I almost left, but the story was so compelling that I stayed. It gave me a bad headache! Watch at your own peril.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 1½
—Paula, age 69 (USA)
Comments from young people
Neutral—The problem with the review on this site is that it criticizes the political agenda in the film. …There is a great deal of violence and cursing, just like any war film. However, if you like a good conspiracy thriller and aren’t bothered by such immorality, then this is a good film for you. I enjoyed it, and was entertained. Of course, there’s a great deal of politics involved with the film, bringing into question the veracity of the war in Iraq. I thank the soldiers for their service, but I also am open to the possibility of conspiracy. Obviously, that is only my individual opinion, and it should not affect your choice on viewing the film. If leftist-leaning films bother you, then skip this film. The Bible says that we are to “be subject unto the higher powers”-Romans 13:1a. Therefore, should this not affect our view on the Iraq War?
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Raul, age 16 (USA)
Movie Critics
…a cinematic “history” lecture—undercover as a war thriller complete with eardrum-burning language and blood-spraying headshots. …
—Bob Hoose, PluggedIn
…“Green Zone” might make you see red… obvious, highly political film that screams, “Bush lied! People died!”…
—Christian Hamaker, Crosswalk
…moves too fast to think and its political ideas have been pre-argued to death. …
—Wesley Morris, The Boston Globe
…a strangely dated, foolishly grandiose, simplistically angry fictional war-zone thriller about how one patriot blows the lid off America’s missteps in Iraq. … [C+]
—Lisa Schwarzbaumm Entertainment Weekly
…Backed by a bombastic score that keeps perfect syncopation with the soundtrack’s ever-whirling helicopter blades, the film opens at a frantic frequency and seldom backs off. … [2½/4]
—Chris Knight, National Post
…herky-jerky, handheld camera work and hiccup editing… In the wake of the Oscar-winning “The Hurt Locker”—a far better film, and one with a less strident, less obvious agenda—“Green Zone” arrives looking strangely anachronistic. … [2½/4]
—Steven Rea, Philadelphia Inquirer