In the run-up to this year's Oscars, ex-soldiers and conservative critics assailed eventual Best Picture winner "The Hurt Locker" for its purportedly inaccurate and unflattering take on the Iraq war. Those same criticisms are now being leveled at "Green Zone," Matt Damon's thriller-style story about the search for weapons of mass destruction after the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003. A New York Post review said the movie is "a $100 million slime job that conjures up a fantastically distorted leftist version of the war and wraps it around a frantic but preposterous action picture."
Damon, conversely, doesn't see what all the fuss is about. "It's a movie about a guy who's looking for WMD and they're not there," he told MTV News recently. "I don't think that comes as news to anybody. And then he says, 'Well, what's going on,' and he goes on a hunt for the truth, and that spins us off into our whole thriller. I don't think that's a particularly incendiary thing to say. I think that's a journey that we all went on and a fundamental question we all asked and it's not partisan."
The Oscar-winning actor, of course, has made no secret of his left-leaning politics, from his condemnation of Sarah Palin during the 2008 election to his public frustration with President Obama's lack of progress on key Democratic issues. A prominent liberal actor in a movie that asks tough questions about an ongoing American war is a recipe for intense political backbiting. "Green Zone" director Paul Greengrass says such criticisms, though, miss the point.
"It's supposed to be a great, smart night in a movie theater," he told MTV News. "First and foremost, you've got to give people a ride. But if you give them something to talk about on the way home, that's great. That's what movies are meant to do. [People] don't want just lowest common dominator. They want some beef too."
Check out everything we've got on "Green Zone."
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