Set in Iraq in the months following the 2003 invasion, the film reunites the director Paul Greengrass with his star of the Bourne series.
Damon plays an army warrant officer whose WMD sorties keep coming up empty; unwilling to roll over, he’s soon embroiled in a turf war between the CIA and the Pentagon (personified by conscientious Brendan Gleeson and oleaginous Greg Kinnear) while attempting to wrangle a Ba’athist general (Igal Naor), a useful veteran (Said Faraj) and a useless embedded reporter (Amy Ryan) against a backdrop of more-or-less real events.
The movie is full of political rhetoric and has the advantage of crystal clear hindsight. It force-feeds mainstream audiences the lies about the weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) that triggered the war and the elaborate cover-up of the truth.
The title refers to a designated secure and safe area that includes the old Republican Palace where American decision-makers were isolated from Baghdad’s chaos and destruction.