Oscar watch 2009: Paul Greengrass talks ‘Green Zone’

Posted by · 12:02 pm · January 10th, 2009

Matt Damon in Green ZoneIt’s no secret that Paul Greengrass’s “Green Zone” is one of my most anticipated films of 2009.  Part of a slew of Universal product that could find itself in the running for Oscar this time next year, the film is a loose adaptation of Rajiv Chandrasekaran’s best-selling “Imperial Life in the Emarald City” and hopes to break the recent streak of popularly challenged dramas reflecting the conflict in Iraq.

L.A. Times journo John Horn has filed a brief but interesting back-and-forth with Greengrass about the production, which has been in the editing lab for nearly a year because of the amount of footage the director has shot on location around the globe.  Starring Matt Damon, Greg Kinnear and Amy Ryan, “Green Zone” might just be the film to bring audiences into the cinematic Iraq War discussion — or maybe it won’t.

I’m also looking forward to Kathryn Bigelow’s “The Hurt Locker” this year, which grabbed major raves in Toronto last September.  Here’s a bit from Horn’s piece:

“It is not a movie about Iraq,” Greengrass said on the London set of his film last spring. “The hope is to make a strong, contemporary thriller that is set in Iraq. Thrillers thrive on extremity, and there is no more extreme environment than immediate post-invasion Baghdad,” he said. (Indeed, the cinematographer’s slate used during production titled the film not “Green Zone” but “Green Zone Thriller.”)

The film follows Roy Miller (Damon), a warrant officer leading a team of 18 Army soldiers searching for weapons of mass destruction in late 2003, just after the American-led invasion.

Instead of a cache of deadly chemicals, though, Miller’s team finds disorganization and ineptitude, and Miller soon grows desperate.

“It’s a race against time to find those weapons,” the 53-year-old British filmmaker says. “It’s a race against time to catch Saddam Hussein. It’s a race against time to establish essential services. And it’s a race against time to win the confidence of the Iraqi people.”

Check out the rest here.

→ 15 Comments Tags: , , , , , , , , | Filed in: Daily

15 responses so far

  • 1 1-10-2009 at 2:22 pm

    Scott Ward said...

    I agree. Certainly sounds like it has more promise than other Iraq thrillers.

  • 2 1-10-2009 at 2:48 pm

    JAB said...

    i remember being really excited for rendition…

  • 3 1-10-2009 at 3:07 pm

    Scott Ward said...

    likewise for body of lies JAB

  • 4 1-10-2009 at 3:12 pm

    Chase Kahn said...

    ‘The Hurt Locker’ is supposed to be the Iraq film to end all Iraq films.

  • 5 1-10-2009 at 4:48 pm

    Matt said...

    Personally I’ve never understood all the love for Greengrass… to me he’s Bruckheimer with a handheld camera and a better script.

  • 6 1-10-2009 at 5:15 pm

    tony rock said...

    Bruckheimer’s not even a director. And you’re gonna sit there and tell me Untied 93 felt like Bruckheimer?

  • 7 1-10-2009 at 6:36 pm

    alynch said...

    It’ll be tough for any of these Iraq War movies to top Generation Kill.

  • 8 1-10-2009 at 7:21 pm

    Matthew said...

    I’m still not sure about The Hurt Locker. I’m sure it’s probably good, but the trailer made it look like an extremely stupid movie. Extremely stupid. I mean I certainly hope it’s good. Nobody wants a crappy movie. They just made a really shitty trailer out of it.

    “Green Zone” on the other hand I am excited about. Although I do tire of the shakycam technique, I love Greengrass as a director and I’m a big fan of all the actors involved with this thing. Matt Damon, Greg Kinnear, Amy Ryan, and friggin’ Jason Isaacs. That’s exciting.

  • 9 1-10-2009 at 8:51 pm

    Chase Kahn said...

    I think Greengrass received way too much credit for ‘United 93’ — obviously an effective film, but I just don’t know how you could have messed up that story, personally.

    The ‘Bourne’ films are fine, I guess — never did like them a whole lot. Structurally, ‘Ultimatum’ and ‘Supremacy’ are VERY similar, it felt cheap to me.

  • 10 1-11-2009 at 3:27 am

    BurmaShave said...

    Yeah I’m taking about your license to watch movies, Chase.

  • 11 1-11-2009 at 3:35 am

    BurmaShave said...

    I mean seriously, there are SO many ways to fuck up that story, there’s even a TV movie that did it- FLIGHT 93. You try to give the events some kind of order, you try to involve the leaders involved, you go for the sentiment…

    Greengrass is on the roll of his life, arguably the director of the decade. BLOODY SUNDAY and UNITED 93 are two verite masterpieces that will be with us forever, and BOURNE 2 & 3 are two of the better genre films to come along in awhile. And the reason they are VERRRRRRRy similar is because they’re basically one long movie. And a great one at that. Seriously, look again.

  • 12 1-11-2009 at 8:13 am

    McGuff said...

    I liked United 93, loved Ultimatum, and can still see what Chase is saying. I thought Supremacy was as over-directed as any action movie I’d seen. But then with Ultimatum, my trust for him was reinstated.

    I must say, though, if Greengrass insists on the handheld camera as his shtick, my patience will run thin. There’s a time and place for the handheld … not every time, and every place.

  • 13 1-11-2009 at 8:35 am

    BurmaShave said...

    That’s as blatantly absurd as saying “If Sam Mendes has anymore solid compositions with rich cinematography my patience will run thin.” It’s his style, and he chooses his films accordingly.

  • 14 1-11-2009 at 2:16 pm

    Scott Ward said...

    I’m kind of with McGuff on the camera issue. No BurmaShave, it’s not nearly as absurd. What you said was pretty absurd. It’s fine if you love the hand held cam, but for most of us, its near constant use is not very aesthetically or even thematically pleasing.

  • 15 1-11-2009 at 4:51 pm

    alynch said...

    Nobody likes seeing their mancrush criticized.