The Bourne Identity (2002) Review

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The Bourne Identity

Time: 119 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Violence and Offensive Language
Cast:
Matt Damon as Jason Bourne
Franka Potente as Marie Helena Kreutz
Chris Cooper as Alexander Conklin
Clive Owen as The Professor
Brian Cox as Ward Abbott
Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje as Nykwana Wombosi
Director: Doug Liman

The story of a man (Matt Damon), salvaged, near death, from the ocean by an Italian fishing boat. When he recuperates, the man suffers from total amnesia, without identity or background… except for a range of extraordinary talents in fighting, linguistic skills and self-defense that speak of a dangerous past. He sets out on a desperate search-assisted by the initially rebellious Marie (Franka Potente) – to discover who he really is, and why he’s being lethally pursued by assassins.

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The Bourne series is one of the most famous action franchises, and with the 5th instalment of the franchise coming reasonably soon, I decided to start to review the Bourne movies (maybe not Legacy). The first film, The Bourne Identity, is a pretty good and influential action film which spawned a successful franchise. While the other films are arguably better, The Bourne Identity is still a great action film, from its action to its complex and dense plot, it is a must see for action fans.

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The Bourne Identity is a movie that requires your full attention to understand what’s going on, if you don’t, you’ll be completely lost as to what is going on. However with that said, after a few viewings, it wasn’t as complicated as I remembered, it’s just that there’s a lot of details that you have to process. The plot itself is written quite well, and all the details and plotlines structured well. The film does have quite a good balance of intrigue and mystery as well as action and thrills. Now I will say with the exception of Jason Bourne, I did not find any of the characters interesting. They weren’t bad by any means, they just weren’t that memorable to me. That’s really one of the only major flaw that I could find with this movie.

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Matt Damon gives one of his greatest performances in the Bourne series. With this film, he proved that he was action worthy material. He manages to be absolutely believable as a trained assassin in the way that he carries himself, what helps is that there are many action scenes where you can clearly tell that he’s doing a lot of his own stunts. He really is the stand out of the movie. The rest of the cast consists of such talented actors like Chris Cooper and Brian Cox, who are good but none of them really stand out, to be fair though their characters aren’t really that interesting, so it’s not like they had much to work with. One actor who does leave an impression at least to me however is Clive Owen, he’s only in a few brief scenes but he gives off a presence and he was great with the little amount he was given.

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The one thing known about the cinematography of the action is that it’s quite shaky (a technique that director Paul Greengrass would continue in the sequels), however I thought that it’s done rather well. That’s because it’s obvious that it’s not done in order to hide bad choreography like a lot of action movies which use shaky cam today (and you can actually see what’s going on), it’s done to put us directly into the action and to make it feel more realistic. On that note, the stunts are great and made the action even more believable, the action sequences are the highlights of the movie.

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While in my opinion it’s not the best movie in the franchise, the Bourne Identity is still a great action movie in itself. The plot is complicated but interwoven well, Matt Damon really brought his A-game and is completely convincing as his character and the action especially makes this movie. Paul Greengrass gets a lot of credit for the Bourne movies but people should know that it was director Doug Liman who started this series off with a bang.

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