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Jason Bourne – Movie Review

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Jason Bourne – Movie Review

Rating: B (Good)

Trailer/Thumbnail Courtesy Universal Pictures

It’s probably fitting Jason Bourne would return to the screen in a post-Snowden world. With the slowly growing distrust of governments and their control over our lives, this is the sort of character that still resonates. Director Paul Greengrass mounts a full-on thriller that never slows down and with action varying from keyboards typing to cars crashing. It’s a compelling film that works in its desired goal to keep the audience pinned to their seats. The story is keep simplistic, even with all of the computer and CIA jargon thrown around. Jason Bourne is a roller coaster that taps into our own fears of who to trust.

It is obvious Greengrass and his credited co-writer/editor Christopher Rouse are taking inspiration from the public unrest over surveillance after Edward Snowden leaked classified NSA information. That jumpstarts the plot for Bourne to explore more of his past and why the government continues to search for him. That storyline is what fuels Greengrass’s many action scenes. Greengrass and Rouse keep the pacing strong and never lets go as the screenplay bounces from one location to the next. The best sequence is in London with Alicia Vikander’s CIA agent trying to contain control on one end and Bourne carefully planning his move on another, all the while an assassin is on the hunt.

The commentary on a government obsessed with keeping track of everyone through their mobile devices is frequent all throughout Jason Bourne. The addition of a cell phone wiz who wants no part in government intervention in his products does the necessary job of putting the film in the real world. The discussions and meetings being held feel like they are straight out of the headlines and the film solidly shows Riz Ahmed’s uneasiness with how his electronics are being utilised. Vikander also suitably displays both a professional persistence and reluctance in chasing after Bourne and she’s developed well for a character that could have easily been underwritten. Tommy Lee Jones’s department head does occasionally fall into the stereotypical villain role, but Jones plays the role with his usual deadpan spirit.

Paul Greengrass’s tendency to shake the camera returns in Jason Bourne. It’s a style he feels comfortable in, but it has also affected many action films since he applied the technique on this franchise. At times, he and director of photography Barry Ackroyd are able to keep the camera steady and in other scenes, it’s shaking like there’s no tomorrow. It’s a bothersome choice when directing action, especially since the appeal of the genre is being able to see the fist fights and car chases in all of their glory. It’s a credit to Greengrass’s abilities as a filmmaker that he is still able to direct them well and keep the excitement level high. However, it would be nice to see the titular character punch somebody in a wide shot once in a while.

Jason Bourne delivers in its promise to craft a pulse-creating action thrill ride. Characters meet their necessities and the script has the proper social commentary befitting the story. Paul Greengrass primarily uses these films as an excuse to get the audience’s heart pumping and it works. As long as governments keep on making morally questionable actions, there will always be room for Jason Bourne to hop around the world in search of answers. The action sequences are continually exciting and even tense at times and Greengrass knows how to use his locations to tremendous effect. One cannot help but compare this film to Michael Mann’s dull hacker thriller Blackhat from last year and see that sort of movie done properly.


Stefan Ellison