Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The moment you got into her car. The moment you entered her life, she was dead.

No 454 - The Bourne Supremacy
Director - Paul Greengrass

Things ended on a happy ending for Bourne.... but this is a trilogy of paranoid action thrillers, and so despite the BIG BAD being resolved at the end of Identity, it is time for a new government agency to be out hunting Bourne.
This time, Bourne is tackling a far bigger problem. Not only is he still trying to piece together his memories and sense of self (though warped and blurry flashbacks show he's beginning to remember) - but he's also been framed for a fair amount of murder.

So we're back on familiar ground. As Bourne runs away confused, chased by an agency who think Bourne is after them. When really all he wants is a quiet life.

The first thing that's clear from this sequel is that there is a new director on board. Gone are the slower more paranoid shots and in are quick edits, jittery cameras and a state of CONSTANT FUCKING TENSION

This new visual style makes for a far more frantic film and is the style which became a staple of how to make a modern, exciting, action film. Other - more established - action franchises duly took note. However, the issue which stems from is that action sequences become a lot more difficult to follow. Gone are the long lingering shots of Matt Damon stalking Clive Owen through the grass, and instead we get split second shots which change before you can fully register whats going on. It makes the whole experience of watching a film far more tiring. But, saying that,
the car chase where Bourne is in a taxi is probably one of the most dramatic and exhilarating car chases I have seen in a film.

So what else is there to comment on? Well lets look at the good news. Julia Stiles is back and she ACTUALLY HAS SOMETHING TO DO! Yes, this time Nicky is dragged back into action and she gets to actually do stuff as well as get right in the thick of a very tense interview with Bourne.
But there is more, because hidden in the shadows of the new agency (fronted by Joan Allen in fabulous 'no shit important person' mode as Pamela Landy) is none other than Michelle Monaghan. She may have very little to do in this film, but it is always a delight to see her in a film.
At the core of this film though is a man who realises he has done terrible things in his past. He is trying to write those wrongs, whilst the government he worked for still believe he is as ruthless and as deadly as he ever was. There are some touching moments, when Bourne goes to visit the children of his former victims to apologise.

Whilst the first film was all about the paranoia of not knowing who you are, this film is more about trying to right your past misdeeds. It allows Damon to relax into the role and helps create richer, more rounded characters.

Hell... by the end we even know Bourne's real name.

Fade out to Moby