The Bourne Identity
3 out of 5 stars
R E V I E W   B Y   R I C H   C L I N E
he was the perfect weapon Robert Ludlum's amnesia novel gets the classy espionage treatment in this tense but somewhat lacklustre movie.

Damon stars as Jason Bourne, an ultra-secret spy who loses his memory after a mission and spends the duration of the film trying to piece together various clues to his identity with the help of a gorgeous stranger (Potente). Meanwhile, his CIA boss (Cooper) is hunting him down with a Paris office worker (Stiles) and a strong, silent assassin (Owen) who's just like the real Bourne.

The premise and structure are intriguing, drawing us in from both angles as we see Bourne's inner resources (he seems to have only forgotten his identity, nothing else) pitted against the huge international spy machine. Twists and turns keep the story increasingly complex and gripping, even if director Liman doesn't really pump up the adrenaline. His direction is never more than adequate, although he does manage some decent action sequences and he avoids the self-important rah-rah patriotism that can doom these kinds of films.

Damon holds the film's centre securely, keeping us right with him, interested in his quest even though we never doubt that it will all work out for him in the end. And there's fine support around him. Involving and enjoyable, in a slick Hollywood way, it's also a bit slow ... and ultimately rather forgettable.

cert 12 themes, language, violence 28.Jun.02

dir Doug Liman
scr Tony Gilroy, William Blake Herron
with Matt Damon, Franka Potente, Chris Cooper, Clive Owen, Julia Stiles, Brian Cox, Gabriel Mann, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Orso Maria Guerrini, Tim Dutton, Walt Goggins, Josh Hamilton
release US 14.Jun.02; UK 6.Sep.02
02/US 1h58

Just blend in. Marie and Jason (Potente and Damon) 'disappear' in plain sight...

damon potente owen stiles
See also:
The Bourne Supremacy (2004) The Bourne Ultimatum (2007)
R E A D E R   R E V I E W S
he was the perfect weapon send your review to Shadows... "I read these books years ago when the Cold War was at its peak, everyone was suspecting everyone else of working for the Communists and we no doubt were spending tons of money spying on each other. The book's plot was more complicated; they somewhat simplified the plot for the movie, which was a good thing. I liked this movie - I feel it was well done, and Matt Damon was awesome - he must have been working out a LOT, and it shows! The plot is not too complicated, easier to follow, and it is a good action/adventure movie. The chase scene through Paris is well done." --Laurie T, Minneapolis 11.Jul.02
© 2002 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall