****/**** Image A- Sound A Extras B
starring Matt Damon, Franka Potente, Clive Owen, Chris Cooper
screenplay by Tony Gilroy and William Blake Herron, based on the novel by Robert Ludlum
directed by Doug Liman
by Walter Chaw The Bourne Identity is a composition of gestures stripped of romance and presented in their barest forms. It is the most cannily cinematic film of the year and one that, during its first half-hour, boasts blissfully of but one minute of dialogue. The picture recognizes that Matt Damon is best as an everyman with potential by presenting him as a character born at the age of thirty-three. And the Oedipal detective story that forms the centre of the tale ("Who am I?") is so ripe for examination that it may flower in time to be as debated and revered a fantasy as Ridley Scott's Blade Runner (which likewise features the murder of The Father prior to a kind of manhood and subsequent mate choice). Very loosely based on Robert Ludlum's novel of the same name, indie punk Doug Liman (director of Swingers) has constructed a parable of self-discovery that can as easily be read as a subversion of the conventions of the thriller genre, a discussion of the ways in which the audience participates in the process of genre fiction, or as a science-fiction piece in which strangely robotic über menschen run amuck in a technocratic world metropolis.