It’s hard to think of any films from the 21st Century that have been quite as influential as the Jason Bourne films. Giving life to a spy genre that was finding it hard to break out of the camp, cheesy playfulness of the James Bond films; Jason Bourne introduced a newer breed of gritty super spy. And although the newer crop of Bond films have taken these elements and blended them with some of the Bond tropes of old Jason Bourne has returned to cinemas again to show which new direction hte genre can be taken in next.
One of the main ways the Bourne films breathed new life into the spy genre was by injecting it with a realism that was instantly recognisable in the real world. For example, gone are gadgets and gizmos, and sinister dramatic villains. In Jason Bourne it wasn’t a sinister terrorist group hoping to bring down the government, the government ARE the sinister organisation and the new film makes great references to Edward Snowden and the NSA to gives its plot and villains a real sense of relevancy. Will the revealing of sinister government tactics benefit the public or put them at risk? A question that can just as easily be applied to the film as it can to the real world.
For all its political references however the new Jason Bourne movie is still an action film and Oh boy does it deliver. Sometimes it blends this action with the political (such as being chased through an austerity riot in Athens) sometimes it allows the tension to build to almost unbearable levels (the climactic shootout at a technology convention) but in any case you’ll be on the edge of your seat. And it rarely lets the momentum slip, sometimes feeling like a constant action scene which, although distracting at first, allows you to be swept along in the film making it a fully immersive action film in every possible sense.
One of the most talked about aspects of the film has been Matt Damon’s extremely emotive performance, on that relies much more on physical and facial expression rather than dialogue. Speaking no more than 25 lines throughout the film, this at once adds a new mystery and tension to a character that many will already know well. It’s the clever touches like this from director Paul Greengrass that make Jason Bourne feel as new and refreshing as the original that revolutionised the genre all those years ago and the film proves that Matt Damon and Paul Grenngrass are a director-actor combination to be reckoned with. We as audiences can only hope that they collaborate again in the future.
– By Jamie Hutton