Jason Bourne: Thy Spy Thriller Doesn’t Get Your Adrenalin Pumping Because It’s Too Grim And Claustrophobic, Film Companion

Cast: Matt Damon, Alicia Vikander, Tommy Lee Jones

Director: Paul Greengrass

If I’m looking exhausted, it’s because I’ve just seen Jason Bourne. The characters in this film don’t ever seem to hold still. Everyone is walking, running, pursuing or being pursued. The camera also doesn’t pause. It wobbles, swivels, jitters and chases with a breathtaking speed. After some time, my head and eyeballs started to hurt. I wanted to beg Jason to just sit down and enjoy a coffee. He does that once and almost immediately someone dies.

Jason Bourne is the fourth collaboration between Matt Damon and director Paul Greengrass and as usual, everyone’s favourite amnesiac assassin is trying to stay alive. When we first meet him, he’s fighting for money, somewhere on the Greek-Albanian border. Which is basically an excuse to show Damon’s incredibly buff body. I had no problem with that. But what follows is a purposefully twisty narrative, which touches upon hot button issues – online privacy, surveillance, personal freedom versus public safety. The CIA has many dark, dangerous secrets and of course Bourne must die. Almost every other character in the film is chasing him – including a deadly assassin named Asset who is played with a dour determination by Vincent Cassel. Asset often watches television in a darkened room. Why is that? If you are a killer, do you never ever put the lights on?

Anyway there’s no time to figure stuff like that because Greengrass takes us country-hopping – from Athens to Berlin to London to Las Vegas. And it all comes down to an insanely long chase in which dozens of cars are smashed to smithereens. This was perhaps meant to be jaw-dropping. I just felt worn out.

Greengrass is a technically dazzling director – he stages long action sequences with virtuosity. There’s also a stellar ensemble cast – Tommy Lee Jones, Alicia Vikander and Riz Ahmed. But ultimately Jason Bourne doesn’t get your adrenalin pumping because it’s relentlessly grim and claustrophobic. I don’t need popcorn thrillers to be sunny but a little air and levity would go a long way.

Rating:   star

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