Jason Bourne is a worthy successor to the Bourne franchise
Jason Bourne (2016) is the fifth instalment in the Bourne film franchise and also the direct sequel to the much acclaimed The Bourne Ultimatum (2007). It is based on the popular novel of the same name written by Robert Ludlum and is directed by Paul Greengrass, who has directed several other Bourne films in the past.
Matt Damon returns in the titular role as Jason Bourne, who is a former black-ops CIA operative cum assassin on the run. He is also suffering from amnesia and long term memory loss.
Jason Bourne is a modern thriller movie, set against a contemporary backdrop of the world we live in, under constant vigilance of the state’s surveillance, wiretaps, hacks and leaks. A world where individuals like Edward Snowden can change the face of modern cyber warfare and security with literally a click of a proverbial button.
Jason Bourne, the character, takes a page or two from Snowden’s playbook, and leaks highly sensitive and classified material online for the world to see. Two ideas were whisked together to create the theme for this movie: good old traditional action sequences including close quarter fighting action scenes fused with cyber corporate-government espionage. It is how these two ideas were thrown together in a perfect balance that makes this action thriller more engrossing in comparison to its predecessors or even contemporaries.
The premise of the movie revolves around Bourne revealing himself. He is seen seeking the support of his former associate cum romantic interest collaborator Nicky Parsons (Julia Stiles) to whistle-blow à la Snowden, the contents relating to project Treadstone (Bourne’s own brainwashing assassin program) and other similar black-ops shady projects being conducted online.
The signature “shaky cam” style that has now become synonymous with Paul Greengrass has returned in all its glory, added with sharp and craftily edited action sequences that keep the audiences on the edges of their seat. It is fast-paced, but not to the point of getting confusing or puzzling for the moviegoers to understand what is going on on-screen. In fact, it’s this visceral and raw feel to Bourne movies which is seldom seen in these sorts of genre based movies, that lends a feel of being authentic and this movie is no different.
It is Matt Damon again, who delivers a strong performance in his titular role as the rogue spy Jason Bourne, despite delivering only 45 lines of dialogue during the entire movie – yet he shines and excels in his role. After doing all of the Bourne movies except one, he has practically grown in this role. Despite not having many dialogues at his disposal, he has used his body language and expressions instead to deliver a performance second to none.
Other actors that also deserve praise are Tommy Lee Jones playing the shrewd yet stern CIA director Robert Dewey, Riz Ahmed who is a Silicon Valley billionaire Aaron Kallor running a Facebook-esque social media platform named Deep Dream. He apparently seems to be in alliance with the CIA, while giving them sensitive information such as users’ private profiles, data mining aid and committing a breach of privacy in the process. He has delivered a good performance despite his limited on-screen time.
The forgettable franchise spinoff in 2012, ironically named, The Bourne Legacy, which starred Jeremy Renner, was more of a miss than a hit. With Matt Damon at the helm, this movie, however, is worthy of carrying the Bourne legacy forward. I would highly recommend this film.
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