THE BOURNE IDENTITY

Directed by Doug Liman. Czech Republic/USA. 2002.


Talking Pictures alias talkingpix.co.uk
 
 


 
 

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Have you ever really embarrassed yourself? Of course you have. Everyone does, at some point or another pull some kind of horrid manoeuvre that makes you seriously consider abandoning your career, family, friends, etc, and entering the witness relocation program. My point is, that once these lovely images are stored in your mind, your brain never lets you forget them. If I were bleeding to death, and the emergency room doctor asked me what blood type I was, I would reply “I think it’s B. Or maybe C. I’m pretty sure it’s a letter.” Ask me to describe the saxophone player to whom my mother revealed my life-threatening crush at the age of 10, and immediately I can tell you “His name is Bryan, he’s 6' tall, he’s got blonde hair, and glasses, and sings really well.” (Just in case Bryan reads this column, allow me to stress for the record that although I ceased planning our future wedding when I turned 11, I do still think he’s a very spiffy guy. I am continually impressed with his dancing abilities, though I remain somewhat concerned about his excess of Hawaiian shirts.) My most chagrining moments however, have always occurred on dates. Dates involving spy films. 

My own brain is always digging up the time I attended Goldeneye on a “quadruple date” with a bunch of my high school friends. I had finally summoned up the courage to ask Patrick, the school’s artistic/poet/bad boy out with me, and standing at the concession stand I was feeling quite impressed with myself, and my obvious devastating attractiveness. That is until another friend sidled up to me and mentioned that on the other side my date was using his spare hand to hold hands with another girl. This was of course, a much better looking girl. This was Cindy Crawford, only taller. 

This being a Friday night, many of my high school’s popularity elite were in the theatre with us, and they gathered to watch. I had absolutely no idea what to do. Should I hit the girl? That would have been asking for a lifetime of dental problems. She was on the school’s Rugby team. I took ballet lessons. I also had to rule out hitting my date. The ideal move would have been to spontaneously burst into flames and die. I have read that this sometimes happens to people. But you never get a break like this when you need it. 

After what seemed an eternity, I turned to my date, dropped his hand and said: “Um.” Just like that. “Um.” My brain absolutely loves to remember this. “Way to go Jen!” it trumpets at me, when I’m stopped at red lights fourteen years later. I mean talk about articulate. 

I eventually did attend The Bourne Identity when I couldn’t stand not knowing whether or not one of my favourite books had been massacred or not. To play it safe however, I went all by myself (and yet still managed to get startled halfway through and dump orange soda all over my light blue pants).

The Bourne Identity is the story of lost soul Jason Bourne. When he is found adrift, and riddled with bullets off the coast of France, Jason begins his struggle back to health with some startling problems:

1) He has some rather unusual tactical skills.

2) Total strangers are trying to kill him.

3) He has absolutely no idea who he is.

The Bourne Identity. All Rights Reserved.Matt Damon (Good Will Hunting, Dogma) plays (The Bourne Identity author) Robert Ludlum’s super spy. I don’t have any particular quarrel to make with Damon’s performance, save for the fact that I don’t understand why there wasn’t more development put into his character. Damon took the adaptation as far as it could go, but was given none of the spice of Ludlum’s books to turn his role from the well-played hero, into an extraordinary one. Commonplace script aside, Damon has some absolutely fantastic moments. His switch from total bravado when he is first pulled from the sea, to complete and utter terror when he realizes he doesn’t know his own name is very realistically done. His character’s violent subconscious trying to break through his amnesia induced innocence is nicely played too. Damon adds a mature ferocity to this role, giving it a sense of credibility that in lesser hands wouldn’t have translated onscreen. 

The Bourne Identity. All Rights Reserved.Franke Potente (Run Lola Run) plays Bourne’s saviour, Marie Kreutz, who is dragged along for the ride, after a terrible run of luck places the pair together. Potente is once again, showing off her tremendous talent. She, like Damon, was given a banal role and makes it pop, giving Marie spark and life that in other hands wouldn’t have been present. She plays Marie as very charming, a girl that may have taken some false steps in life, but is just looking for a chance to put it all together again. She never allows Marie’s bond to Jason feel forced, and lets her be human by permitting her to be frightened. Her work in Run Lola Run, and now this have made me a fan. I will be following her career with great interest.

If nothing else, summer movies are all supposed to be fun, and The Bourne Identity is definitely that. It’s filled to the brim with great car chases, exciting fight scenes, and thumping music. But it’s more than the typical summer movie fare in that there’s a good story, and laudable acting. It’s definitely worth a big screen look.

Jen Johnston

PS: It has just occurred to me that in an attempt to see if he would like to go and see The Bourne Identity Patrick might have read this piece, in which I case I would like to emphasize that I am leading an absolutely wonderful life, I have a beautiful daughter, I get paid to watch movies, and I've interviewed three golden globe winners, and I hope things are equally fine with you. Four. I've interviewed four golden globe winners.
 
 
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