500 Days Of Film Reviews Jason Bourne Starring Matt Damon As Our Favourite Amnesiac Assassin
After an absence of almost ten years, Jason Bourne returns to our screens in director Paul Greengrass’s new film called… well, erm, Jason Bourne.
Since we last saw him in The Bourne Ultimatum (released in 2007), Jason Bourne has been living a tortured existence - making a grim living as a bareknuckle fighter.
However, he is drawn out of the shadows once again thanks to Nicky Parsons (Julia Stiles). Parsons has uncovered top secret government files including new information that could help Bourne uncover the secrets of his past.
Is It Any Good?
The first three Bourne movies - The Bourne Identity, The Bourne Supremacy and The Bourne Ultimatum - form a perfect action trilogy, beloved by audiences and critics alike.
Indeed, The Bourne Ultimatum has such a satisfying conclusion that it is easy to understand why Greengrass and Damon have, until now, been reluctant to risk a return.
However, in the years since Jason Bourne swam into New York’s East River, the world has changed - and changed dramatically. Just think of the technological advances that have been made since 2007.
These developments in our post-Snowden world of surveillance convinced Greengrass and his co-writer Christopher Rouse that there was indeed another interesting story to tell.
And how great it is to see Jason Bourne back on our screens.
Jason Bourne is bursting with bone crunching, globe-trotting, tension-fueled action. It never lets up - not for a second.
Filmed in the franchise’s traditional shaky camera style, the movie is punctuated by three incredible set pieces - one involving a riot in Athens (actually filmed in Tenerife), another in a crowded plaza in London and a final mad, car smashing chase sequence in Las Vegas.
The spectacle is quite something to behold. Paul Greengrass has certainly pushed the action envelope and proved, once again, his mastery of this genre.
Much has been made of the fact that Matt Damon doesn't have much to say in Jason Bourne. This is true. However, his actions speak far louder. He may only have 45 lines of dialogue, but we are always aware of his pain, his conflict and his motivation for leaving the shadows.
Damon can convey so much in just a single look.
It is also true that the movie explores themes unrelated to Bourne’s personal narrative (including social media and online privacy issues) and often focuses on alternative conflicts within the CIA.
For example, much of the film is spent on the rivalry between Tommy Lee Jones’ agency director, Robert Dewey and Alicia Vikander’s CIA division chief, Heather Lee (see below).
Jason Bourne has not made a flawless return, however. Even the (literally) dizzying action cannot hide the fact that the film's story is less than satisfying - certainly when compared with the first three Bourne movies.
I also found Alicia Vikander's performance as Heather Lee slightly flat (strange given that she is such a superb actress) and her narrative arc is really rather predictable.
In addition, Riz Ahmed’s storyline (as social media guru, Aaron Kalloor) was interesting but underdeveloped - as if the movie was striving a little too hard for contemporary relevance.
Vincent Cassel gives a superb performance as ‘the asset’. We understand his motivation for chasing Bourne and never doubt his potency.
However, when the two assassins finally come to blows the camerawork is far too frenetic to allow us time to enjoy the moment. The Raid has spoiled me on that score, perhaps.
It is, nonetheless, wonderful to see Matt Damon reprise his role. Jason Bourne is an extremely enjoyable film with endlessly impressive action sequences… it just might not live too long in the memory.
Have you seen Jason Bourne?
If so, what did you think of this film? Do let me know by leaving me a comment in the box below!