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TSA Goes To The Movies: Green Zone

No, not the one from Sonic.

As our home consoles become much more than just machines for playing games on, we also must become more. So we are occasionally going to talk about the Zune movie service or the PSN Movie Download Service (which still needs a snappier name). We’ll talk about Digital Comics on the PSP too, from time to time. Home consoles want to be your full-featured home entertainment centers and TSA wants to walk with you through that whole experience. So we sent Tuffcub to the pictures. We didn’t even give him a budget for pick n’ mix.

Warning: Contains Mild Spoilers (although if you’ve got half a brain you will know the plot from reading the news)

On Monday I was invited to a posh Soho hotel to check out a preview of ‘Green Zone’ courtesy of our lovely chums on Xbox Live. Let’s answer the important question first: Canapés not quite as good as the Sony ones although the mini Shepherds pies were quite nice. After a quick drink and a look round at what was playing on various XBoxes (nothing new –  Battlefield etc) it was off to the plush screening room for the movie.

The Green Zone is the tale of a Chief Warrant Officer Roy Miller, played by Matt Damon, who was one of the first in Iraq hunting for those elusive WMDs in 2003. Miller is following intel provided by his superiors but it constantly proves to be wrong and he begins to doubt the authenticity of the intelligence.  A chance encounter with a helpful Iraqi leads him off on a chase to hunt down a leading Iraqi official who may be able to authenticate the intelligence.

The outcome of the movie is extremely obvious but the journey to the conclusion is pretty decent. The story alternates between Matt and his team out in the field in a very realistic bombed out Iraq and then switches to a more political tone as we get to see the CIA and American Government fighting over intel.

In a recent interview with Mark Kermode, director Paul Greengrass described the movie as having an authentic beginning but the tale that follows is a work of fiction. He stressed this rather a lot and after seeing the movie I can see why. The film shows that the US government lied and made up the claims of WMD as an excuse to invade Iraq and also shows them as incompetent fools.

Damon is believable in his character which is a good thing as he has 99% of the screen time. Brendan Gleeson seems rather miscast as a CIA operative and Lawrie Dayne makes the best of her three minutes on screen, it really is a Matt Damon movie. Best supporting actor has to be Jason Isaacs’s moustache – Captain Price would be proud.

The main problem my companion and I had with the film was the ‘Shakey cam’ footage. I think the entire film has been recorded using hand held cameras with so the picture swings and judders and shakes all over the shop. In some sequences it’s very hard to see what is going on, especially as the film is very grainy – this is one picture that is not going to be benefit from being on Blu-ray. Obviously these effects have been added to give you a sense of ‘being there’ but it does make it hard to follow the action.

Despite the heavy political tones of the film it is an action romp and it delivers on that promise. Well worth a punt on a rainy Friday night down your multiplex. Alternatively, wait a while and grab the movie via the Zune movie service where you can also catch the Bourne films which were also directed by Paul Greengrass and feature a certain Mr Matt Damon.

Pros:

  • Enjoyable action romp
  • Matt Damon perfectly cast
  • Jason Isaacs moustache

Cons:

  • Way to much shakey cam
  • If you’ve kept up with current events, you’ll know the plot.
  • Conclusion can be spotted from a mile away.

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