Sunday, 1 January 2017

Jason Bourne

The fourth offering in the Bourne franchise was always going to run the risk of becoming stale and feeling like a cynical way to make more money from Robert Ludlum's character. This film's narrative is different to the opening trilogy - yes it's filled with chases, explosions, glittering cities around the world, but in the few quieter moments it develops Bourne's quest to rediscover himself in a tender, nuanced and unexpected way.

Produced by Matt Damon and Directed by Paul Greengrass this is an intelligent action/spy movie that kept me on the edge of my seat throughout. The narrative arc begins and ends with a bare knuckle prize fight - although the concluding fight delivers a different prize for Bourne (Matt Damon). However, throughout the rest of the story Bourne still has to deal with the old school Director of the CIA, this time played with hauntingly cold efficiency by Tommy Lee Jones.

Against the same old, same old ethos of the CIA which is struggling to maintain its credibility with Congress, the film deftly introduces the new thinking brought to us by Millennials about open-source social media platforms, freedom of information and a suspicion of the "State". This film is so much more than Bourne simply evading assassins.

Continuity is offered through the character Nicky Parsons (Julia Stiles) who risks everything to help Bourne discover the truth about his past. Pamela Landy is replaced by the sassy and ambitious cyber-geek Heather Lee (Alicia Vikander) who also has sympathy for Bourne - but only as far as it will advance her own agenda.

The action shots move at breath-taking pace from Reykjavik to Athens to Berlin, London and on to Las Vegas for the Grand Finale. The chases, are as unbelievable as ever and Bourne's resourcefulness seemingly knows no limitation at all. His ability to penetrate the strongest of defences and disappear like a ghost presumably pays testimony to the effectiveness of the training he received under the Treadstone Project.

As you may have gathered, I liked this film - a lot. For me it avoided many of the pitfalls that beckoned whilst adding extra depth to the story. The locations were stunningly shot - many of them at night and within the world of Bourne and the CIA it was all believable. The cutting question might be, are the security agencies of our respective countries carrying out activities like this on our behalf? To be honest I am fearful of the answer. I'll give the film an 8/10.

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