johnlink ranks THE BOURNE IDENTITY (2002)

I came into 2012 wanting to catch up on some movie franchises which hadn’t made their way onto this blog. As I sit here at the end of June, halfway through the year, I’ve been able to revisit all eight HARRY POTTER films, the four INDIANA JONES flicks, and the three JURASSIC PARK entries. Additionally, I have knocked out the first two MIB movies, three of the five AVENGERS related stories (just missing the two IRON MAN movies), and three of six original STAR TREK films. You would think I would get back to one of my incomplete series, but instead I’m staring another. With the fourth BOURNE flick (sans Matt Damon) scheduled to hit theaters here soon, I wanted to see the first trilogy again.

I watched THE BOURNE IDENTITY (2002) on 6.29.12. It was my fourth viewing of the film, and first since just before the third BOURNE was released in theaters in 2007.

Often movies of this sort, where an amnesiac is trying to figure out their past, turn out to just be about some twist surprise, or some horror from the past. What I love about the BOURNE series is that it becomes just as fun, though a different kind of fun, when you revisit the films. Now that I know all that happens, the interjection of certain auxiliary characters doesn’t feel so random. It is easier to buckle in and just follow the characters, and Jason Bourne (as played by Matt Damon) is an extremely likable character. He’s a little more Will Hunting than I remember. He gets frustrated at the inability of others to keep up, if only subtly so. The discovery of his assassin’s skill sets are a real joy to experience, starting with the first fight in a park where he dismantles two cops and looks down to realize that he is holding one of their guns, and he has no idea how he got it.

I like the amorphous nature of the villains in this film. I like that the bad guys all have very clear motives for acting how they act. Some are assassins, just like Bourne. Some are doing what is ‘Best For The Country’, which leads them to do terrible things. I love that some are just working a nine-to-five job, but that their nine-to-five leads to deaths, sometimes of the people they usually work alongside.

The romance in this film is, perhaps, slightly forced. The meeting is natural, and Franka Potente is solid in the role of Bourne’s improvisational sidekick, but the love scene feels like something out of a bygone 90s era. It seems as though, more and more, loves scenes get axed from the final concept of films because the movie just has no room, no need, for them. Because oftentimes the love scene is just anticlimactic, and we yearn for more build (and 99.5% of the love scene in BOURNE is off-screen but it changes the relationship). I think back to movies like THE SPECIALIST with Stallone and Stone or FAIR GAME with Cindy Crawford and one of the Baldwins. Those movies were essentially sold on their single sex scene, and you (thankfully) just don’t see that much anymore.

But I digress.

BOURNE is an action-lovers dream. Many like to blame the ‘shaky-cam’ phenomenon on this film, though that particular style didn’t come in until Paul Greengrass took over the director’s chair for the second film. In the first film, the shooting feels natural, feels unintrusive. I really like how the fight scenes progress, and it is easy to forget that they were fairly revolutionary for this style of film at the time. I suppose imitation is still the most sincere form of flattery.

Clive Owen is in this for maybe five minutes and speaks no more than a half-dozen lines, however he is memorable as one of the final men sent to kill Bourne. The supporting cast is really good, with heavyweights like Brian Cox and Chris Cooper filling necessary government roles. But this is really Damon’s movie, and he does a great job, as can be expected.

The movie works on a purely entertaining level, but it is well shot and well executed to boot. Nothing about this film brings it down, even if no area launches it into all-time classic status. This is a movie which I could pop in at any time and be very entertained, and I appreciate that there is more to it than just that.

Oh, and incidentally, this is movie number 100 thus far for 2012.



I really appreciate the understated score. The music is not something I remember liking, but I found myself noticing its impact with this viewing.



~ by johnlink00 on June 30, 2012.

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