Directed by Paul Greengrass
Written by Brian Helgeland
What a ride. Directed by Greengrass and starring Matt Damon as the lead character, a Chief Warrant Officer in Iraq, Roy Miller, one would be inclined to think this would be Bourne in Iraq. In some ways it is, but in many ways it is not. What we have here is a thriller, a military and a political thriller. I was gripped basically the whole way through and the plot flowed smoothly, never allowing a dull moment. The politics involved make this somewhat volatile, based on what kind of theories that are dealt with, but I took it as a work of fiction, made for my entertainment. And honestly, I have already seen some conservative backlash for this, all I can say is grow up. Much like Avatar I should think, just go in and watch it to be entertained, not informed. Although the way some Americans “get their news”, I might be somewhat concerned that a few people might take it at face value. This is not a documentary.
The film begins at the beginning of the American invasion of Iraq in 2003. It follows Roy Miller (Damon) and his crew of soldiers who search for WMD. When they do not find any in their searches, Miller begins to question the intelligence. This gets him in with Martin Brown (Brendan Gleeson) and in conflict with Clark Poundstone (Greg Kinnear), who has a press link with Lawrie Dayne (Amy Ryan) who broke the story of a high-ranking Iraqi source who gave the intel to the Americans about the WMD. Poundstone also has a Special Forces unit at his disposal, headed by Briggs, played by Jason Isaacs. He disappears so much I did not know it was him until the end credits rolled. It sounds like a great cast, and it is, but no one other than Damon is given much to chew on really. It is truly one of those “There was a man…” kind of films. Along the way, Miller picks up a local sidekick, Freddy (Khalid Abdalla), who is patriotic and looking to fight for what he feels is best for Iraq. The rest of the story is a taut thriller about Miller seeking the truth.
The use of the digital, handheld cam is in full force here. At the beginning I really noticed it and it bothered me, but then it settled down and I was able to enjoy the film because of the great, compelling, intriguing story to follow. It might be strange to say in an action film such as this, which has great action, but I think i enjoyed the moments of exposition more. I was expecting something good, and I got something great, which I am very grateful for. The second and third acts are just so good, so suspenseful and so action packed that I just had to love it.