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The Bourne Identity Reviews

Todd McCarthy
Variety
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A first-rate thriller with grit and intrigue to spare.

Full Review Source: Variety

June 12, 2008

Time Out
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Efficient set pieces come neatly spaced every ten to 15 minutes -- just often enough to keep you credulous -- and the trans-European settings lend a classy backdrop.

Full Review Source: Time Out

February 9, 2006
Colin Covert
Minneapolis Star Tribune
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Liman can uncork leap-out-of-your-seat shocks, draw out suspense scenes with malicious finesse and even ease a touch of romance and droll humor into the yarn.

Full Review Source: Minneapolis Star Tribune | Original Score: 3.5/4

May 19, 2004
Andrew Sarris
New York Observer
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A rollicking adventure yarn.

Full Review Source: New York Observer

July 25, 2002
Mark Caro
Chicago Tribune
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The Bourne Identity is no mere summer amusement park ride. It's as gray as Go was colorful and a cool contrast to its source material.

Full Review Source: Chicago Tribune | Original Score: 3/4

July 20, 2002
Stephen Hunter
Washington Post
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Great fights. You wouldn't think of Damon as a tough guy, but he's worked really hard on the physical stuff here and it shows.

Full Review Source: Washington Post

June 26, 2002
Rex Reed
New York Observer
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A film that is at best misguided, at worst stubbornly flashy, garbled and ready to file in the drawer labeled 'instantly forgettable.'

Full Review Source: New York Observer

June 25, 2002
Richard Roeper
Ebert & Roeper
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Really well done.

Full Review Source: Ebert & Roeper

June 19, 2002
J. Hoberman
Village Voice
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Liman takes a giant step toward hackdom with his banal big-budget adaptation of Robert Ludlum's 1980 espionage thriller.

Full Review Source: Village Voice

June 18, 2002
David Edelstein
Slate
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It moves quickly, adroitly, and without fuss; it doesn't give you time to reflect on the inanity -- and the Cold War datedness -- of its premise.

Full Review Source: Slate

June 18, 2002
James Berardinelli
ReelViews
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Nicely paced and fits the bill for those in search of two hours of spy-based action and martial arts.

Full Review Source: ReelViews | Original Score: 3/4

June 15, 2002
Desson Thomson
Washington Post
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There isn't a dull or dumb moment in this movie.

| Original Score: 4/5

June 14, 2002
Peter Howell
Toronto Star
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An entertaining thriller that eschews most of the usual spy gimmicks in favour of old-fashioned sleuthing.

Full Review Source: Toronto Star | Original Score: 3/5

June 14, 2002
Moira MacDonald
Seattle Times
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Bourne aspires only to be a fun popcorn movie -- and, for the most part, it is.

Full Review Source: Seattle Times | Original Score: 3/4

June 14, 2002
Mick LaSalle
San Francisco Chronicle
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There are moments that feel just on the edge of silly, but that's the idea.

Full Review Source: San Francisco Chronicle | Original Score: 3/4

June 14, 2002
Charles Taylor
Salon.com
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A thriller with some brains and feeling behind it, more attuned to story and character than to spectacle.

Full Review Source: Salon.com

June 14, 2002
Steven Rea
Philadelphia Inquirer
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The Bourne Identity has all the necessary components of the genre, and deploys them well.

| Original Score: 3/4

June 14, 2002
Jay Boyar
Orlando Sentinel
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Liman, of Swingers and Go, makes his big-budget action film debut something of a clunker as he delivers a long, low-heat chase, interrupted by a middling car chase.

| Original Score: 2/5

June 14, 2002
John Anderson
Newsday
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It wouldn't be measurable in g-forces, but there is enough forward motion in The Bourne Identity to pin audiences backwards and enough nervous tension to put them on the edge.

Full Review Source: Newsday | Original Score: 3/4

June 14, 2002
Rene Rodriguez
Miami Herald
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As the intended start of a franchise, The Bourne Identity is a bit of a bust.

Full Review Source: Miami Herald | Original Score: 2/4

June 14, 2002
Eric Harrison
Houston Chronicle
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The Bourne Identity shouldn't be half as entertaining as it is, but director Doug Liman and his colleagues have managed to pack it with enough action to satisfy the boom-bam crowd without a huge sacrifice of character and mood.

Full Review Source: Houston Chronicle | Original Score: B+

June 14, 2002
Susan Stark
Detroit News
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Although the exposition effectively invokes cool, the gradual warming trend finally gives this film a resonance beyond immediate impact.

| Original Score: 3/4

June 14, 2002
Terry Lawson
Detroit Free Press
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If The Bourne Identity is an example of indie-movie rogue agents gone amok, then mainstream Hollywood should definitely recruit a few more.

Full Review Source: Detroit Free Press | Original Score: 3/4

June 14, 2002
Steven Rosen
Denver Post
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Overall, Liman has done a good job of making this old Cold War thriller seem born again.

Full Review Source: Denver Post | Original Score: 3/4

June 14, 2002
Philip Wuntch
Dallas Morning News
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The Bourne Identity crackles with equal measures of efficiency and energy.

Full Review Source: Dallas Morning News | Original Score: B+

June 14, 2002
Paul Clinton (CNN.com)
CNN.com
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The Bourne Identity, starring Matt Damon, is a blast from the past dressed up as current-day fare. But this retro thriller still packs a powerful punch.

Full Review Source: CNN.com

June 14, 2002
Renee Graham
Boston Globe
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For all its shoot-outs, fistfights, and car chases, this movie is a phlegmatic bore, so tedious it makes the silly spy vs. spy film The Sum of All Fears, starring Ben Affleck, seem downright Hitchcockian.

Full Review Source: Boston Globe | Original Score: 1.5/4

June 14, 2002
Bill Muller
Arizona Republic
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With his stilted performance, Damon manages to make Bourne about the dullest spy who ever lived.

June 14, 2002
Liam Lacey
Globe and Mail
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Liman adds some brash, and occasionally subtle, touches to the spy-on-the-run formula, without ever quite managing to transcend the cliches.

Full Review Source: Globe and Mail | Original Score: 2.5/4

June 14, 2002
Jonathan Foreman
New York Post
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A lean, deftly shot, well-acted, weirdly retro thriller that recalls a raft of '60s and '70s European-set spy pictures.

| Original Score: 2.5/4

June 14, 2002
Kenneth Turan
Los Angeles Times
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Laced with great shock moments, Bourne moves along smartly on its own steam, drawing us confidently into its orbit.

Full Review Source: Los Angeles Times | Original Score: 4/5

June 14, 2002
Mike Clark
USA Today
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The Bourne Identity is what summer screen escapism used to be in the decades when it was geared more to grownups.

Full Review Source: USA Today | Original Score: 3.5/4

June 14, 2002
Ella Taylor
L.A. Weekly
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Though it's clearly meant to be character-driven, the movie is thrown out of whack by a total lack of chemistry between the leads, and some great acting on the side.

Full Review Source: L.A. Weekly

June 14, 2002
A.O. Scott
New York Times
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Free from the encumbrances of history and of Ludlum's cloddish prose, The Bourne Identity, like its hero, triumphs through sheer unreflective professionalism.

Full Review Source: New York Times | Original Score: 3.5/5

June 14, 2002
Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
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Doug Liman, the director of Bourne, directs the traffic well, gets a nice wintry look from his locations, absorbs us with the movie's spycraft and uses Damon's ability to be focused and sincere.

Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times | Original Score: 3/4

June 14, 2002
Glenn Lovell
San Jose Mercury News
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I've seen the best cloak-and-danger exercises, including The Spy Who Came in From the Cold and the original Day of the Jackal, and in terms of story and cold-sweat suspense, I'd rank this one right up there.

Full Review Source: San Jose Mercury News | Original Score: 4/4

June 13, 2002
Eleanor Ringel Gillespie
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
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The film's greatest asset is how much it's not just another connect-the-dots, spy-on-the-run picture.

Full Review Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution | Original Score: B+

June 13, 2002
Owen Gleiberman
Entertainment Weekly
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Plays like John Le Carré with a couple of burnt-out cylinders.

Full Review Source: Entertainment Weekly | Original Score: C+

June 12, 2002
Kirk Honeycutt
Hollywood Reporter
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While hurting for any sense of romance or meaty character interaction, the Doug Liman-directed movie does capture the pulp verve of those 1960s Cold War thrillers directed by the likes of Guy Hamilton and Terence Young.

June 11, 2002
Peter Travers
Rolling Stone
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In these dog days, Bourne earns what passes as high praise: It doesn't suck.

| Original Score: 3.5/5

June 10, 2002
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