The Bourne Supremacy
R E V I E W   B Y   R I C H   C L I N E dir Paul Greengrass
scr Tony Gilroy
with Matt Damon, Joan Allen, Brian Cox, Julia Stiles, Karl Urban, Franka Potente, Gabriel Mann, Marton Csokas, Tom Gallop, Tomas Arana, Oksana Akinshina, Chris Cooper
release US 23.Jul.04, UK 13.Aug.04
04/US 1h48

Interrupted idyll: Damon and Potente

allen cox stiles
See also:
The Bourne Identity (2002) The Bourne Ultimatum (2007)
The Bourne Supremacy After 2002's classy THE BOURNE IDENTITY, a new director shifts gears for this sleek, imaginative sequel. The story picks up soon after the first film ends, with ex-superkiller Jason Bourne (Damon) living in idyllic obscurity in Goa with his girlfriend (Potente). But events in Berlin are dragging him back into the fray, as a CIA director (Allen) tries to track Bourne down with the help of his old boss (Cox) and handler (Stiles). But she hasn't a clue what a can of worms she's opening--a Russian hitman (Urban), stolen money, secret assassins, shady government dealings.

This is an even better film, as Greengrass and Gilroy deepen Bourne's personal quest while ratcheting up the action. Even the low-key sequences are unsettling, due to Greengrass' jittering handheld cameras, so when the fighting/chasing starts, it's so gutsy and forceful that it leaves us gasping. Everything feels spontaneous: Sleuthing segments are thrillingly eloquent. The hugely elaborate Alexanderplatz set piece has strong Hitchcock overtones. The crashing race through Moscow actually invents a new film language for car chases. And all of the action meaningfully drives the characters as they seek resolution and/or redemption.

Bourne's quest to piece together his own history is marvellously involving, pitting his newly heroic outlook against his evil assassin past. Damon is exactly the right actor to make him come to life with his nice-guy looks and brooding-child determination. The actors around him are also far better than usual for these kinds of films--much more introspective and engaging, as we see past their role in the game of international intrigue into the real person beneath.

All of this seems like it should be standard stuff in the movies, but so many films get it so wrong that when one like this comes along it makes us want to cheer (as our audience of critics did after the astonishing Moscow car chase). This is brainy, intelligent, emotional filmmaking that just happens to be in the thriller genre. The violence is nasty and brutal without being gratuitous. The drama is authentic and riveting. And it's all so cool that you'll be itching for Part 3.

cert 12 violence, themes 30.Jul.04

R E A D E R   R E V I E W S
send your review to Shadows... The Bourne Supremacy George, Jersey: 5/5 "Awesome movie, loved it. I was wondering if anyone knows if there is going to be a part 3." (4.Aug.04)

Donna Carter, Wisconsin: "This is not a movie you can take any time to go for a potty break or a popcorn or coke refill without missing something important. Something is always happening. I unfortunately had to take a potty break and came back and someone was dead. Oops. I'll have to rent the video to see what happened. It seemed to be a bit more gory than the first one. But I may not remember the first one as well as I think I do. Anyway, even if you haven't seen the first one, you can still see this one and not feel like it's an incomplete story line. This movie moves! " (13.Sep.04)

© 2004 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall