One Hundred Bourne Every Minute
Did I fall asleep and somehow wake up in the late 90’s? No? Well then I must have missed the memo saying that the whole shaky camera and epilepsy inducing editing was back in vogue because I thought we collectively agreed that style of film making was a bad fucking idea.
I can’t deny that there is something incredibly visceral and brutal about this style of film-making but it’s all in the imagination. There’s no way your brain can fully keep up with a hundred cuts per minute or make sense of what you are seeing so you fill in the gaps.
I realise I sound like your 90 year old neighbour complaining about your hippety-hop music but it’s not just me. I heard at least two or three other people leaving the cinema sharing the same sentiment: yeah it’s good but I couldn’t get on with all the shaky camera stuff.
If for some reason you actually like watching films in the middle of a tornado then you might really like Jason Bourne – especially if you liked the other films.
Don’t be turned off if you haven’t seen the previous films though because Jason Bourne seeds just enough flashbacks for anyone to follow the story without being too obtrusive. It’s a perfectly good place for newcomers to join the series.
That said Jason Bourne doesn’t really do very much at all to progress the story with the general plot being along the lines of “oh, Bourne has resurfaced and he still knows too much”. In fact some of the scripting is almost that generic as well with many of the main characters talking in pseudo-spy. A key example of this is another government agent like Bourne (Matt Damon) who is simply called “Agent”. How stupid would it be to have a dog called “Dog”? Fuck it, from now on just call me “Nickname”.
Thankfully; Agent (Vincent Cassel) is a greater than his alias suggests. He is essentially a grittier and more remorseless version of Bourne with Cassel playing the character with laser focus.
It’s not just Cassel who produces an excellent performance. Alicia Vikander is excellent as ever in her role as Heather Lee a young, determined member of the CIA who is determined to prove herself and rise through the ranks underneath the Director of the CIA Robert Dewey (Tommy Lee Jones). It’s a bit of a weird pairing but the constant power struggles between these two frenemies is often more interesting than the on-screen action which has historically been Bourne’s strong point.
Overall this really does feel like another well produced and (mostly) well written film from Paul Greengrass. It has the right ratio of political intrigue, action and drama but it really does suffer from very convenient espionage, the action being filmed inside an earthquake simulator and death by a thousand cuts.
The Good, The Bad and The Outcome:
+ Remorseless Villain
+ You don’t need to see the previous films
+ Alicia Vikander
– Too many edits per minute
– (Un)Steadycam work
– Generic spy film dialogue