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[Review] – ‘Jason Bourne’


Release Date: 29 July 2016
Director: Paul Greengrass
Writer: Paul Greengrass
Cast: Matt Damon - Tommy Lee Jones - Alicia Vikander



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Posted July 31, 2016 by

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Former CIA tech-head Nicky Parsons is highlighted by the agency when she hacks Black Ops files and plans to air them Snowden style. One file in particular concerns the past of the CIA’s greatest boogieman; Jason Bourne.

Bourne (real name David Webb) has meanwhile been making a living as a bare-knuckle brawler in Greece. Nicky seeks him out and, in doing so, leads the agency on another frantic race to tie up loose ends.

Bourne’s time out of the spotlight has not been peachy as the opening scene illustrates. His body is scarred and battered, his hair is greying and he wears a black eye for almost all the movie. He ain’t any more talkative either, preferring to stay cooped up in his scratchy, rock-hard shell. Gone is the energetic curiosity from Identity, replaced with a haggard world-weariness that would make Batman envious.

Two notable performances from Alicia Vikander and Tommy-Lee Jones orbit around our lead. Vikander’s Heather Lee is another techy with fierce career aspirations and whose loyalties will keep you guessing. As for Jones, he is a good fit for the aging and sneering imperialistic CIA director Robert Dewey.

As stated in interviews, what appealed to Greengrass and Damon about bringing Bourne back was placing him in this current zeitgeist. We latch onto Bourne through this tornado of current affairs; anti-austerity marches, dealing with hacktivists and PRISM style surveillance. The past nine years have provided a feast for thought.

Not so meaty is the writing but with the Bourne movies (except that one) the writing was never truly a problem. This latest instalment follows the old template; Bourne is disturbed, follows a lead, attracts the agency, wrecks people and cars, resolve. It worked before and it sure as hell works here too.

If there is something Jason Bourne must be seen for is the Athens and Las Vegas set pieces. Greengrass is no stranger to a riot scene, having turned out the chilling Bloody Sunday. Hundreds of extras pose as masked rioters and armoured cops, shaking barricades, firing gas grenades and water cannons, hurling molotovs and burning sofas. To wrangle that kind of chaos before the camera is mind-boggling. Rather poignant to remember as well; Bourne Identity ends with an idyllic reunion in Greece. These Greek scenes could not contrast more.

Like Supremacy and Ultimatum before it, Greengrass closes with a heart-stopping car chase, his most destructive yet. Michael Bay can lay waste to cities and you may think, “That looks neat.” But when Greengrass plows a speeding SWAT van into gridlocked traffic, your jaw drops. We’ve seen cars perform impossible acrobatics onscreen, jumping hundreds of feet and landing like ballerinas. Here, Bourne so much as jumps a curb and he dangerously skids, sparks and swerves as he tries to regain control. There’s been nothing like this in cinema this year so far.

The plot to bring back Bourne may feel a little contrived but on seeing his deterioration and his navigating of an even shadier and more hi-tech world than the one he left, all reservations will be swept aside by the breath-taking and furious action. Current affairs can be entertaining after all!


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Michael Keyes
Silences Band
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