Ja­son Bourne

NOW Magazine - - CONTENTS -

It’s been nine years since Matt Da­mon last went rogue in The Bourne Ul­ti­ma­tum. Why should we care about Ja­son Bourne, the film that re­unites Da­mon and di­rec­tor Paul Green­grass for an­other tale of glo­be­trot­ting es­pi­onage? The stu­dio didn’t screen it in time for a re­view, but here’s a primer on the fran­chise.

It’s the spy se­ries we de­serve

The Bourne Iden­tity may have been shot be­fore 9/11, but its re­lease in the sum­mer of 2002 made it the per­fect film for an au­di­ence sud­denly wary of shad­owy threats and en­e­mies within. As Da­mon’s am­ne­siac Bourne ran for his life through Europe, au­di­ences got a glimpse of a world deeply mis­trust­ful of Amer­i­cans. And given what our hero was do­ing there, it seems the world had good rea­son.

It’s the anti-Mis­sion: Im­pos­si­ble

Where Tom Cruise’s mega-fran­chise of­fers a squeaky-clean vi­sion of in­ter­na­tional in­trigue (the bad guy can be a rogue agent within the Im­pos­si­ble Mis­sion Force, but never the IMF it­self), the Bourne movies are much more cyn­i­cal. The sys­tem is rotten, as we’re shown over and over again, be­cause spies have power, and power cor­rupts. The Bourne Le­gacy is all about the CIA and NSA com­ing after its other op­er­a­tives – in­clud­ing Jeremy Ren­ner’s Aaron Cross – when Bourne’s ac­tions threaten to ex­pose the pro­gram.

It’s the role Matt Da­mon was born to play (no pun in­tended)

When Doug Li­man cast Da­mon in The Bourne Iden­tity, Good Will Hunt­ing was fresh in the public con­scious­ness, so the ac­tor had no trou­ble sell­ing the “or­di­nary guy hid­ing a par­tic­u­lar set of skills” thing. But the char­ac­ter of Ja­son Bourne lets Da­mon use his own ge­nial per­sona as a dis­guise. At any mo­ment, this pleas­ant, non­de­script guy could ex­plode into mer­ci­less vi­o­lence. He also gives the char­ac­ter an es­sen­tial streak of sad­ness: this is a life he knows he’ll never es­cape, be­cause it’s lit­er­ally the only one he knows.


See re­view of Ja­son Bourne Fri­day (July 29) at now­toronto.com/movies.

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