The Bourne Supremacy

The Bourne Supremacy August 1, 2004

I am a fan of author Robert Ludlum who died in 2001. His spy-thrillers are still a good read, though many took place during the Cold War. One of my favorites is “The Road to Gondolfo” from the early 1980’s about some mafia guys who kidnap the Pope for ransom, but he’s so happy to be out of the Vatican, he doesn’t want to go back. Reminded me of “The Ransom of Red Chief” by O’Henry. Now, people are finishing books Ludlum started before he died, and I think they keep up the tradition satisfactorily. Medical and corporate conspiracies have taken the place of the Cold War….

Anyway, The Bourne Supremacy is a better movie than The Bourne Identity that came out in 2002 – nothing against Matt Damon but if you liked Richard Chamberlain’s TV version, then it might have been a tad disappointing. However, The Bourne Supremacy is an engrossing spy drama that presents a new cinematic technique to viewers. Instead of too many over-long car chases and fights (there are some), much of the action is “chopped up” and blurred so we don’t have to sit through what have become cliche’ sequencing. Same old, same old. On the other hand, the fast moving blurred visuals gave my brother-in-law a headache. I thought it was rather classy, but if over-used, the technique could become predictable.

The blurring certainly reinforced the lack of clarity Bourne has about who he is, why the CIA is after him, and the Russians as well. When Marie, the woman who saved him in the last film, is killed by an assassin in Goa, India, where she and Bourne have been living, he continues his search for who he is.

You have to stick with this one to figure out the plot. You might want to see The Bourne Identity again if clarity of plot is important to you.

What’s interesting is that Marie had been working with Jason to curb his first response to any situation: killing. He realizes he has been brainwashed by the CIA – but why is at the heart of the story. In the film, the CIA basically collapses from the inside because of self-conspiracy, treachery, secrecy, fraud and greed. Is anyone to be trusted ever again?

Joan Allen is excellent as the Berlin CIA bureau chief and is the agent that reveals Bourne’s identity. But she still wants him to come in and talk about it… sequel?

Bourne’s damaged conscience and his humanity begin to emerge as he knits together the threads of his memory and his life.

Matt Damon plays this role supremely well.


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