Jason Bourne film review: ‘Damon has just 25 lines in topical take on anxieties about authority’

Matt Damon returns as Jason Bourne. Picture: Universal Pictures.

Matt Damon returns as Jason Bourne. Picture: Universal Pictures. - Credit: Archant

Matt Damon returns as a multi-faceted killer but remains without personality

In Team America, Matt Damon was portrayed as a shallow imbecile who could only say his own name.

Now, in an example perhaps of Self Fulfilling Parody, he has been persuaded to return to his defining role – a virtually mute killing machine with no real personality to speak of – and has been given just 25 lines to speak.

As a killer he’s multi faceted but as a human being he’s a blunt object.

Now he is trying to find out if there is anything to him beyond the lazy pun of his creation, the Bourne Identity.

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The film reunites him with director Greengrass, who’s back with his fast cutting, shaky cam and intense close ups.

By the time he made Ultimatum the style had become so hyped up that it was a cinematic Find The Lady trick; you thought you saw a car chase or a shoot out but it was gone before you could be sure.

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He’s calmed down a bit but even now it’s rare for a shot to last more than three to five seconds.

Greengrass is like a liberal intelligentsia version of Michael Bay: when he does it he’s adapting Eisenstein; when Bay does it he’s copying Coke ads.

It works though. It gives you the feel of urgency and that this is dealing with matters of substance.

There are Greece anti-government riots, Icelandic hacker communities and numerous terse mentions of Snowden to show us that the film has got the global pulse.

The film is about the battle for Bourne’s soul: whether he should use the information he knows to destroy the CIA, or whether his patriotic instincts will take over and he will go back to doing the government’s dirty work.

Bourne is an All American, man on the street, bleeding heart liberal gun nut.

That is his great appeal: his film plays out all our modern anxieties about the agencies that govern us, the outside forces that threaten us, and of whom we should be more scared.

That, and it has a cracking Vegas car chase; and this time you can actually see what is happening.

Rating: 3/5 stars

For reviews of the cinema re-release of Barry Lyndon, Tarkovsky’s Mirror on Blu-ray and the Criterion edition of Dr Strangelove go to halfmanhalfcritic.weebly.com

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