Did any of you see the season finale of “Entourage” this year? Best part of the whole thing was Matt Damon’s appearance as himself, pushing his children’s charity with all the intensity of Jason Bourne trying to shake an answer out of a bad guy.
I like Damon a lot as an actor, and I like that he has reached a place in his career where almost every time out, he’s working with a world-class filmmaker, taking chances, following his own personal passions. I think his work in “The Informant!” was great this year, and I’ve been curious to see how his work with Clint Eastwood would turn out on “Invictus.” Greg Ellwood’s going to write up of the “Invictus” trailer over at his Awards Campaign blog, which makes sense, since I have no doubt this will turn out to be one of the year’s big awards season titles.
It’s a shame that Universal pulled “Green Zone” out of play for this year, though. The movie works both as political body blow and unapologetic action film. It marries the sensibilities of both “United 93” and the “Bourne” series, and it seems to me to be the most commercial thing that Greengrass has ever made, even if it is set in Iraq. I can’t speak to the finished film, but I can say that “Green Zone” is a perfect role for Matt Damon. He plays a guy who is part of the initial raids on all the sites where weapons of mass destruction are supposedly stored, and he notices that each place they hit, the intelligence they were given does not match the physical evidence they find. Determined to figure out where these reports are coming from, his character steps outside the system and very quickly finds himself in over his head.
I wish the trailer featured at least a hint of Jason Isaacs, who shows up as a black ops captain who butts heads memorably with Damon, and every moment they spend onscreen together is gold. Maybe they’re holding that back for the next trailer or even for the film, though.
Whatever the case, the thing that impresses me here is that they are selling you the real movie, not a fake version designed to trick audiences. That happens so often with marketing, especially with movies that are hard to categorize, that I’m used to it, and I sort of expected it here. Hats off to Universal, then, for embracing the peculiar, fish-nor-fowl nature of this film and selling it as what it is: a political thriller with real hardcore action beats built in.
Now the question is will the public bite? We’ll find out in March when the film hits theaters.
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