So I must stop going to Paul Greengrass movies.
It's not that he makes bad movies. He makes relatively decent movies. Like UNITED 93, THE BOURNE UTIMATUM and even, I bet, GREEN ZONE, which is a movie I saw, sort of, the other day.
I say "sort of" because, while I did make it all the way through the film, I really couldn't watch all of it. No, it wasn't the violence, although there was that. I have no problem with excessive violence in movies as long as the story is told. It wasn't the story or the acting or the politics of the film. The WMD issue in Iraq is certainly an issue worth examining and GREEN ZONE does just that, with villains and heroes clearly placed in the political world established by the film.
No, it's not any of the above that made much of GREEN ZONE (and UNITED 93) difficult to watch.
It's the damn HAND-HELD CAMERA!
For God's sake, Greengrass, buy a dolly! Set up a shot in one place and put the camera down and leave it the hell alone! My God! You shouldn't go to the movies and get nauseous because your eyes are bouncing up and down in their sockets. And nausea is what ensues if you have my stomach and you try to watch GREEN ZONE. Every single scene is filmed by a hand-held camera, and when the movie is over, if you didn't know what the word "jostle" meant beforehand, you know it then. Thank heavens I didn't opt for the popcorn and soda before the movie, because each would have ended up on the deck of the AMC Cinema at the Liberty Tree Mall.
The first time I experienced this sensation was when I saw THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT. I left that cinema (Showcase, West Springfield, MA) feeling sick, and I couldn't figure out why. Then I read the newspaper reports about all the people who fell ill at that film and I knew I was a victim of the same hand-held camera technique that Greengrass INSISTS on using.
Yeah, I know TV is now overrun with the same kind of camera work. Even the sitcoms have a lot of hand-held camera action. But it's different in a mammoth movie theatre. The reaction is visceral. And unpleasant. So Greengrass, either use a stationary camera or change your name, otherwise, you've lost me.