Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Movie Review: JASON BOURNE

I almost worship the Bourne films, having literally grown up with them. They make up one of the best and most compelling trilogies of all time and from an action standpoint, not only did they set the bar for the whole of the last fifteen years, but they are also some of the most intense and adrenaline filled experiences we have had the pleasure of having since the 2000s. A return to form with Greengrass and Damon is of course a welcome idea, how could it not be after what they have achieved in the past? Does the film live up to its tall ordeal? I would have to say that whilst the filmmakers have not disappointed a fan who lives and breathes these films, they have neither truly satisfied him and it pains my fingers to write.

Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) has been hiding for years when we meet back up with him. That is, only to be brought back into the spy game by Nicky Parsons (Julia Stiles) who has hacked the CIA and discovered a new truth about operation Treadstone which uncovers further reveals about Bourne's past. Confronted with Bourne's return Heather Lee (Alicia Vikander) and Robert Dewey (Tommy Lee Jones) both have to try and put an end to his activities following their very different methods.

When I say I wasn't truly satisfied, what it ultimately comes down to is a messy third act and a lack of climactic value and pathos, which is what made past entries so stunning. By no means do Greengrass or Damon drop the ball on us, you see the effort they are putting into this, it transpires through the screen in many ways and overall brings to the screen a feature that has many elements to be deeply admired. For one, the Greece action sequence is absolutely jaw dropping, and is a testament to a filmmaker who clearly wants to put all of his heart into the picture and challenge and surpass himself. And he does. We are served a first act action sequence that takes us by the throat and doesn't let go until we can't take the adrenaline anymore. Staged to perfection and weaved with characters in a slew of brilliant ways, this scene represents the potential of what these people are capable of bringing on screen.

The style too is still alive and kicking and doesn't leave behind the novelty that makes it so engaging. We can still count on top notch editing and fantastic cinematography, which still proves to me to be one of the most complex styles to shoot, but the result is absolutely fabulous. The first two acts have a good narrative drive and whilst you are still waiting for the mystery to be uncovered you are deeply intrigued by the characters and their agenda. Admittedly Damon does feel a little off on the role, but the director manages to shoot around it and we still get many nuances of what we love about this character.

Where the film sadly fails is in long-term motivations. There is simply no drive by the time we get to the third act, that being due also to a side plot revolving around a social media outlet that is completely unnecessary and out of place in a Bourne film. The commentary it is trying to get to really doesn't belong here and the picture suffers deeply for it. The third act has many little moments that are priceless, but when added up in the big picture they simply can't overcome what is poor character development. By the end, the film does have a little, classy pick-up, but it can't mend the unfortunate lack of any kind of relevant closure in its third act. Storylines aren't juggled with order and we end up with a mild mess. Indicative of this is the final action sequence, which is severely void of any gravitas and ends up feeling like a big, loud, clunky scene.

Still there's plenty to be enjoyed, especially for fans of the series. This is in no way the disaster that The Bourne Legacy was, it is just an action film with a very problematic third act and conclusion that has two quite strong acts before to support it.

James's Score: 6.5/10

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