I’ve been on a big David Simon kick since I’ve been re-watching ‘The Wire’ with Jen. Although it took me a few episodes to dig in when I watched it the first time, I (like many folks) became enamored without the show. Critical acclaim naming the best TV Series ever is not to be dismissed.
The side affect of “The Wire” (for myself) is being unable to watch any other cop-related programming without a fair amount of teeth gritting at the low quality writing and ridiculous plot lines.
Simon’s show “Generation Kill” had the same effect on me when attempting to watch “The Green Zone”. Generation Kill showed a view of the Iraq War from an embedded journalist and how misconstrued so many of the efforts were. The voices of the soldiers felt real and true. Hearing lines like “Get your game face on” from Matt Damon in “The Green Zone” just made me wince. I made it about 30 minutes before giving up.
From a technical nerd standpoint, I love the way that Simon (or rather the directors he chooses) uses sound and visuals. Music is very rarely used unless it comes from a real source; a car radio, or music appropriate for the environment. GZ (like many hollywood films) uses silly, obvious music to tell you exactly how you should feel, “this is tension, this is drama” rather than letting the actors tell the story. GZ also uses the nausea inducing shaky-cam which makes me physically bothered (I shouldn’t be surprised, the director, Paul Greengrass made the unwatchable Bourne films) . David Simon uses the camera to highlight the content and not obscure it. With few exceptions, Simon focuses on story above all.
The results of quality is showing how far the bar can be raising by demonstrating the results of a valiant effort and commitment to telling a story in the truest way possible. “The Green Zone” was a hackneyed story with mediocre performances.