Jason Bourne is back, reuniting Damon and Greengrass once again in this thriller with a modern edge that casts its antihero in a post-Snowden world of surveillance and social media.
The new movie combines fist-fighting with cyber-stalking in a ruthless fashion through a contemporary landscape, packed with heated exchanges about the pay-off between personal privacy and public order.
We find Bourne on the Greek-Macedonian border, where he flattens a fighter in a stripped-to-the-waist sequence (he now makes an off-the-grid living as a bare-knuckle fighter- nice view) but it’s clear from the start that he is heading somehow somewhere for a “tipping point”.
Meanwhile in Reykjavík, Julia Stiles is back as Nicky Parsons, accessing classified files that lend a dynastic edge to Bourne’s ongoing identity crisis, in the process inadvertently putting him back on the CIA’s radar. And here we go again....
A chase scene through an anti-austerity riot in Athens and we are right in the middle of this growing state of emergency, aided by an insistently relentless score. It’s an orchestrated sequence with the burning glow of street fires, water cannons and motorbikes shooting across the screen.
This movie piles up the air miles with the narrative jumping from Langley, Virginia, home to the CIA, to Rome, to Berlin, to London, where Paddington becomes the setting for another high-octane showdown. Ad then it’s on to Las Vegas...
Meanwhile, Assange-style hackers promise to dump huge caches of sensitive information on line and sci-fi-inflected scenes, in which the CIA accesses conversations and computers via mobile phones.
This is a world of full spectrum surveillance where the lines between protection and terror are blurred.
At times the film’s contemporary edge works against its crowd-pleasing power; when news stories are as terrifying as they have been recently, how much do we want our entertainment to remind us of the horrifying headlines?
Damon injects a much needed air of humanity. His speech may be sparse, but his body is expressively talkative, conveying violence and even tragedy in surprisingly precise fashion. Damon proves that he can keep an onside while keeping his lip buttoned.
The reviews of the film have been rather tepid, to put it mildly. For me it is nice to have Matt Damon back following the forgettable Bourne Legacy episode starring Jeremy Renner.
Definitely one to see, I like my Bourne.