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The Bourne Supremacy

August 24, 2010

The Bourne Supremacy (2004)
Director: Paul Greengrass
Actors: Matt Damon, Joan Allen, Brian Cox

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Synopsis: Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) is still on the run from the CIA….

Review: After the slight, but enjoyable, genre subversions of The Bourne Identity, it is disappointing to see that the Bourne franchise slips back into a more prosaic and utilitarian sensibility with The Bourne Supremacy. This second instalment is simply too much about ‘show’ and the kineticism of the action sequences, with Paul Greengrass exhibiting a style of frantic editing and camerawork not too far away from the aesthetic Tony Scott uses on any number of his trashy Jerry Bruckheimer productions. Gone from Doug Liman’s sly opening film is the sense of ambiguity, the eye for a memorable image, and the clever use of location. I lost count of how many times Paul Greengrass shot the Berlin skyline with the same swooping menace, as if he could find no other means within his film grammar to set up the various episodes taking place there. Particularly after a second viewing, I also found Bourne’s supposedly ‘cathartic’ encounter with the Russian orphan a problematic concept. There is a touch of ‘emotional pornography’ about the scene, and it plays too literally into the core themes of the franchise. In a sense, it anticipates the flaws that the Bond franchise reboot was to make in trying to odiously mythologise its central character’s murky psychology. (November 2008)

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