Mar. 28th, 2010

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After I went dancing this evening, I got the odd urge to go see a late movie, so I went and caught the last thing showing at the Orleans, which was The Green Zone. I was expecting it to be a shitty movie - you might even say I was heartset on the experience of watching a shitty movie in a mostly-empty theater in the middle of the night - and I guess it didn't let me down.

It's a hard movie to praise or criticize, really. Watching a big-budget action movie voice patriotic doubt over Iraq is a little like watching kids on a playground act out their parents' arguments; you wish they wouldn't, but can't say they don't have the right. The movie tries to keep the audience interested by blowing things up at regular intervals, which balances oddly with the often ham-fisted message. There are moments where the actors all but turn to the camera and say 'hey, we fucked up in Iraq!' But then, within a few minutes, they're back to work putting a simple, familiar conspiracy thriller on screen for you. You can just picture the screenwriter, pitching it to a producer as 'an indictment of Iraq war policy so simple, even a republican could understand it'.

 What made the outing worth it, for me, was a guy striking up a conversation with me in the men's room after the movie*. I think what he said was "You know our government's just like that, don't you?" Then he told me about his nephew, who is now on his fourth tour of duty in Iraq. Even more than the movie, the conversation drove home the point that our regrets over Iraq have become the cultural mainstream. I offered him my sympathies, and recommended that he watch No End in Sight. And I recommend it to you, too, come to think of it. It's a difficult documentary to describe without putting too many preconceptions in people's heads, but I now have a very convenient shorthand to describe it: It's The Green Zone for grown-ups.

*Note for females: guys don't do this often.


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