starring Matt Damon, Tommy Lee Jones, Alicia Vikander, Vincent Cassel
written by Paul Greengrass & Christopher Rouse
directed by Paul Greengrass
by Walter Chaw There are two modes in Paul Greengrass's Jason Bourne, his and star Matt Damon's return to the franchise after almost a decade away from it: thudding tedium, and incomprehensible chaos. By this fifth instalment (which follows the Jeremy Renner-starring spin-off attempt, The Bourne Legacy), it all plays a little too much like self-parody. Every time there's a conversation about THE TRUTH now, it feels like a bad SNL skit. I still love The Bourne Identity. Watching it in comparison with the Greengrass films (and with most any modern action movie) underscores exactly how superior is Doug Liman as an action director. Liman shoots an action scene like the dance sequences in Saturday Night Fever: with respect for geography and the skill and physicality of his stunt performers and cast. The car chase through Paris in the original begins with a careful consultation of a map, a few questions about the state of the car, and some light but crucial character development, then proceeds into a nice, clean set-piece that establishes stakes, spatial geometry, and destination in a way that is Friedkin-esque. It's a textbook, as good as the L-train underpass pursuit in The French Connection and the wrong-way freeway chase in To Live and Die in LA.. The Bourne Identity is defiantly classical action filmmaking and that's why it still seems fresh, even though it will be fifteen years old next year.