Sunday, July 31, 2016

Jason Bourne (Brockway)

Tropic Sprockets by Ian Brockway

Jason Bourne

In "Jason Bourne" our favorite amnesiac agent is back. He is square-jawed, resolute and better than ever. As we might expect, Bourne (Matt Damon) is still trying to piece together his past, as he did in previous outings but thanks to the deft direction of Paul Greengrass (United 93), this is a satisfying and outright nerve-tingling episode of the popular franchise, where the action never stops.

Here CIA Director Dewey (Tommy Lee Jones) is seething over the hack of their computers and immediately thinks Bourne is behind it. But Bourne is on the Grecian border, doing some soul searching of sorts as a hired prizefighter. Bourne's buddy, Nicky Parsons (Julia Stiles) is responsible for the hack and wants to help  Bourne through his crisis. They agree to meet at Syntagma Square but trouble awaits.

Everyone, literally everyone, is out for him.

While fans have seen this all before, (as Bourne brings down man after man with Dewey getting steamed), it is Damon's icy calm, balanced against his torment that makes this chapter watchable. The action is first rate with car chases that turn the crunch and speed of metal into a near fetishistic intensity. Greengrass's shaky camera, a trademark, becomes a teenager's tongue, hungrily capturing every rip and rape of steel upon steel. Adrenaline rules over all.

Bourne has a Euro-foe, a shadowy man generically known as Asset (played by the inimitable Vincent Cassel). This figure is as scary as they come, because he is faceless.

Under Greengrass's direction, one sees small details that loom large in the mind. Protestors attacking police who resemble metal insects. Pedestrians running for their lives as the cypher Asset moves through the chaos, unmoved. A few scenes later, Trump Casino is visible looking like a blind and defiant finger rising from the desert.

The gray humor of Bourne's cat-and-mouse game against Dewey with his iconic wrinkles turns into an almost macabre study of revenge and all of the the work it takes to hate and stay alive for years on end. Some might see these vein-straining  tumbles as a WikiLeak's version of something previously re-Bourne and they would be right, but some tense and moody direction by Paul Greengrass keeps the anxiety at the apex. As the melancholic agent who is more authentic on screen than Jack Reacher, "Jason Bourne" still manages to  please with his punches.

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