Green Zone

Movie review by
S. Jhoanna Robledo, Common Sense Media
Green Zone Movie Poster Image
Gripping combat thriller with anti-war edge for older teens.
  • R
  • 2010
  • 115 minutes

Parents say

age 16+
Based on 5 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 9 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Most people aren’t trustworthy, even the highest levels of government, the film posits. But a questioning few are willing to put themselves on the line to uncover the deception. The decisions that went into going to war in Iraq are firmly questioned.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Very few exhibit the courage that Miller does, which, though admirable in its reach for the truth, is woefully unrealistic and arrogant as a premise.

Violence

Plenty of carnage from battles involving knives, machine guns, and explosions. We see corpses sitting in pools of blood. Soldiers manhandle prisoners.

Sex
Language

Everything from “s--t” to “sonofabitch” to “f--k.” Also, several uses of "Jesus," "Goddamn," and "Christ" as exclamations.

Consumerism

Media outlets like CNN and the Wall Street Journal are name-checked.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this suspenseful war thriller is brimming with tense scenes and battle sequences, all of which include gunfire. Characters are almost always armed, mostly with automatic firearms though sometimes with knives, and skirmishes exact brutal, bloody casualties (bombs detonate; soldiers hemorrhage after being shot). Language is often coarse, including multiple uses of "f--k" and "s--t."

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 14 and 16 year old Written byrspar March 24, 2010

Another weak war movie

Basically just an excuse to bash the war and The Wall Street Journal. Kind of Bourne light. But I gave Hurt Locker 3 starts at best.
Adult Written byMovieMan26 October 11, 2010

Bored, bored... and still bored.

This isn't an interesting movie. It's just a watered-down version of either The Hurt Locker or The Kingdom (your choice). Parents: There is a decent a... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written byDomination777 October 30, 2011

Bad Language

Too much bad language. But great story.
Kid, 12 years old May 7, 2011
lots of war action, in the opening bombings. uses of the F-word are common throughout. chases and shootings.

What's the story?

Roy Miller (Matt Damon), a U.S. Army chief warrant officer, is in charge of a unit scouring Iraq for weapons of mass destruction. The United States of America is about to go to war primarily on the strength of this damning intelligence, which has been reported in the press by a journalist (Amy Ryan) who’s now wondering if she’s been had. After failing to find any WMDs at various sites he’s been told to investigate, Miller realizes the information is bunk, especially after a local (Khalid Abdalla) tips him off to a clandestine meeting of powerful Iraqis. A CIA agent (Brendan Gleeson) encourages Miller to dig for a truth that might be buried in the highest levels of government, but a hawkish politico (Greg Kinnear) is on his trail.

Is it any good?

GREEN ZONE is terrifically entertaining, a tension-filled ride that brings viewers right to the heart of the action. The movie was inspired by the bestselling nonfiction account by Rajiv Chandrasekaran, Imperial Life in the Emerald City: Inside Iraq's Green Zone. The listlessness, the confusion in those early days of the conflict in Iraq feels genuine, enhanced by director Paul Greengrass’ kinetic, shaky-camera tableau.

Still, disbelief has to be firmly suspended, if only because it’s hard to buy into the idea that one person -- a small group would’ve been more credible -- could manipulate an entire nation’s decision to go to war and yet another lone wolf is the only one to figure it out. (Again, one man designated to save the country from war?) Greengrass might have helped make Damon the thinking man’s action star with the Bourne movies, but placing a militarized Bourne facsimile into the middle of a geo-political situation of already monumental proportions, one that recalls real-life controversies like the media’s WMD reporting (or misreporting, as it were), seems not only redundant but distracting.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the premise of the movie: How is it possible that a decision as important as whether a country should go to war hinges on false information? What happens afterward when the truth eventually is revealed? How does it affect the citizens of that country?

  • What is the film saying about war? About the men and women who are sent to war zones? Is it believable that someone like Miller would go rogue? How did all the violence affect you?

  • Does this movie make you reflect on real-life events that inspired it? Your thoughts?

Movie details

For kids who love action

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