By Kyle | March 17, 2010
MTV’s dead-on film critic Kurt Loder puts his finger on exactly what’s wrong with “Green Zone” — no matter what your politics. It’s an “action movie with no sense of adventure.” The shaky-camming never stops — even two guys sitting at a table are “filmed as if there’s a riot going on.” That’s just on the superficial level. On a more thinky level, as Kurt astutely points out, the Special Forces dude played by Jason Isaacs is very much supposed to be the bad guy — whereas the good guy, the Sunni general, was presumably complicit in Saddam’s reign of torture and political murder. Well done, Mr. Loder. This is exactly what I mean when I call the film “anti-American” — the whole point of it is to rile up people who hate American actions in the mideast, logic be damned. You could make a much more interesting movie out of Iraq if you actually stuck to the complexities of the truth and the real reasons things went wrong. For instance, the de-Baathification program may have turned out badly (compared to what, though?) but it was not obvious at the time that it was a stupid decision. (“Saddam’s Generals Now Receiving US Paychecks, Training”–How’s that for a Times headline? Subhed: “US in Startling Shift from De-Nazification Policy of German Reconstruction”) There must have been a lot of smart people debating a lot of angles. What were they? That could be a movie. The problem with the standard liberal view of war is, there is no “compared to what?” Any casualty count above a couple hundred is unacceptable. Any occupation that lasts longer than a year is unacceptable. Any friendly fire casualties, strategic cockups, any profits winding up in the pockets of any companies are unacceptable. This is not a serious frame of mind with which to approach the messy business of war.
In a way I think “In the Loop,” which is a sort of oblique black-comic-absurdist take on war in general, gets closer to the truth than the would-be documentary-ish “Green Zone.”