The Bourne Identity Reviews
This is an excellent film. Matt Damon is perfectly cast as Jason Bourne and the film is full of non stop action, great dialogue, and a surprisingly intelligent story.
Before Paul Greengrass came on board and gave us a few heart stopping thrill rides, Doug Liman directed the first entry in the series. While there are a few dated stylistic choices by Liman, he did a great job kicking off the series. It was released in 2002, but it definitely has a 90's action-thriller vibe from its look and feel. It's also far less cinematic than its successors and in turn makes for a great cable watch (which is probably why I've seen this film north of 10 times).
As I understand, the film's budget spiraled after several reshoots and push back's, so John Powell had little to work with in terms of a natural score. I feel like that helped him create a more grounded sound and tone to the series, as he has gone on to score 3 more Bourne films. Powell's score, along with the great end credits Moby tag, make for one good listen. The Bourne Identity doesn't nearly have the scope that the Greengrass films do, but it has a surprisingly amount of awareness for an action film. The entire series is more cerebral than it gets credit for.
Accompanying Matt Damon as Bourne himself, is an impressive cast that consists of German star Franka Potente, Chris Cooper, Brian Cox, and Clive Owen. Potente serves a great counter to Damon in that they both play lost souls searching for answers. She also essentially plays the audience, who is going along with Bourne as he ventures deep into his past. Owen, Cooper, and Cox are all great as different levels of C.I.A. agents. Particularly, Clive Owen, who does so much with so little amount of dialogue.
I'm of the belief that, besides Legacy, the Bourne films get better as the series goes on. With a charismatic performance from Damon, in a somewhat unlikable role, it's all the more impressive just how successful these films have become. Hopefully that continues moving forward.
+Powell's grounded score
+Good action, but better characters
-Some dated stylistic choices
I see this film as two sides. One side is Jason Bourne going through Europe figuring out his true identity and the other side is the CIA who are trying to clean up Bourne's mess by finding him. I personally was satisfied with both sides as they are both informative and at the same time thrilling even when the CIA members are just at their office/computers. Whilst the CIA side of the film gives out the facts and details of Bourne to the audience, it's still enjoyable to see Bourne figuring out for himself.
Matt Damon is great as Bourne, this film though did not show a wide range of Damon's emotional acting but it did show the audience what he can do physically. Franka Potente is the leading lady of this film, she plays the companion of Bourne named Marie Kreutz. Though at the early stage of the film, I can already predict that she was going to become some sort of love interest for Bourne but it did not bring any negative feelings from me towards the film.
A character in this film that I adored and thought was perfect for the part was Clive Owen as The Professor. Granted, his role in this is very short and does not contain more than six sentences of dialogue but when this guy was on screen, he brought it.
All the actors in this film besides Clive Owen, in my opinion, can be played many other actors out there because the characters in this film are a little generic and very minimal in detail. Though, it didn't matter much to me as I came to this film expecting an action film.
The choice of using the shaky camera effect, very noticable in the action sequences, was a good one. It gives that sense of presence for the audience, it felt like it was you who was sitting at the back of Bourne's car looking back at the policeman chasing. It can be a bit overwhelming for some but if you can look past it then the action sequences will be very enjoyable. The action in this isn't over the top and feels realistic. I like that this film does not use explosion to wow the audience but instead show Bourne's skill to impress.
The Bourne Identity is a great time as it is only 2 hours in running time and it brings a great premise that allows the audience to come back to it at any time and still enjoy it. This would be an enjoyable watch alone and with your friends.