Favourites Friday – The Bourne Identity


My good friend Gary  very kindly wrote a blog post for me all about one of his favourite films. Read on to find out why, for him, Jason Bourne is one of the greatest fictional spies ever created.

The Bourne Identity (2002)

Director: Doug Liman
Starring: Matt Damon, Franka Potente, Chris Cooper, Clive Owen, Brian Cox

Up until 2002 spies fell into two groups, the flashy globetrotter (Bond) or the slow motion action hero (Mission Impossible). Growing up as a devout 007 fan, I loved the larger than life villains and their endless armies of bad guys.  However as an adult this world had faded. The world had changed. Terrorism had become faceless. The image of the spy or super assassin had to change too.

I have to admit to not seeing The Bourne Identity on the big screen but rather as a DVD rental. Matt Damon was the perfect man in the street, a down to earth, low key spy. A man who lives in the high tech black ops, anything goes, world of Treadstone, but with a moment of conscious, blows an operation to kill his target. Bourne is shot and is found floating in the sea. He lives of course, but has no memory.

The film follows the story of Bourne as he realises his awesome skills and the agency that now hunts him. Setting the film in Europe gives it a indy feel while keeping the big budget effects. The car chase in Paris is still a stunner, as is the farmhouse scene where Bourne kills Clive Owen’s character, The Professor. There isn’t a scene in this film I don’t love. It stays clear of the usual traps of making it look like a tourist guide. The crew were mostly French I understand and it works perfectly.

The relationship between Marie and Bourne was perfectly portrayed, giving Bourne a human side alongside his Kali fighting and phone hacking skills. This human side becomes more and more obvious as he tries to atone for the things he has done in his past in the following Supremacy and Ultimatum.

Once the end credits roll, for me, spy films had changed forever. Bourne didn’t have catch prases, gadgets, hair to flick about and he didn’t walk out of the sea in his pants!  It was fast, slick and believable. He had an objective and he used whatever was at hand to achieve it.  The action was gritty, the music has been copied on every action film since and I still feel a warm sensation about the ending!

Last week I read on the web that The Bourne Legacy is in scripting. A dip back into the world of Bourne without Jason Bourne actually being in it. Have to admit, I long for another Bourne but without Greengrass, who took over the series, and Matt Damon I am nervous. Only time will tell of course. Perhaps Damon will take up the role again and we can learn more about the dark past of David Webb.

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