The Bourne Identity
Dir: Doug Liman
Star: Matt Damon, Franka Potente, Chris Cooper, Brian Cox
Cert / Year: 12A - PG13 / 2002
Format: DVD R1

A group of sailors find a body of a man (Matt Damon) in the Mediterranean. When they bring it on board they find that the young man has been shot twice in the back but is still alive. He has amnesia and can remember nothing, the only clue to his identity is the address of a Zurich bank which was hidden on his person. Travelling to the bank he discovers a safety deposit box which contains a lot of money, a gun, and a number of passports the first of which has the identity of Jason Bourne. Soon people are trying to kill him and he discovers he knows some pretty amazing survival techniques. Now with the help of a woman called Marie (Franka Potente) he meets he must run, and try to find out just who is he and who wants him dead?

What we have here is a good old fashioned spy thriller, all be it one that is dressed in the latest clothes. The plot of the film bares more than a passing resemblance to the classic Three days of the Condor, and anyone who enjoyed this spy on the run movie will love this. You may be asking why is it old fashioned, well it isn't the plethora of spy gizmos on show but rather the lack of CGI eye candy. This film keeps it real with great stunts, good acting and a well crafted plot.

This turns out to be the second adaptation of Robert Ludlum novel of the same name. The first was a three hour television movie starring Richard Chamberlain and Jaclyn Smith, and while I believe it was closer to the original novel it lacked the budget or the action of this movie. The story itself is a nice little spy thriller, and while the plot twists are unexpected the end result is rather easy to guess. However the action keeps things moving along nicely, and added to this is the sort of dialogue rare in a modern movie of this type.

Initially I had reservations about Matt Damon in the central role, as although he is over thirty he still looks too young. However talent will out, as he proves a likeable and excellent lead (definitely the more talented of him and Ben Affleck). Franka Potente is a young German actress with a big future. She first came to our attention with the excellent Run Lola Run and here she delivers another sterling performance. With Anatomy 2 coming soon she really is one to watch. The rest of the cast are pretty good. With the downside that Brian Cox is really under used and Chris Cooper is a nondescript bad guy.

Where this film really excels is the action scenes. Non of this John Woo inspired CGI silliness, or the over the top stunts of the new Bond movies, what we have here is action more in the style of Ronin. It is real and by doing so the film is that much more believable and that much more intense. This old fashioned view of movie making is a welcome respite from the current trend of no brain big bang effect movies. It is also a refreshing change for a movie to be set outside of the US. Overall this is slickly impressive stuff.

The Bourne Identity is an exciting, tense thriller. It has a good cast and tight direction. Ok some of the plot is rather to predictable and the bad guy just isn't bad enough but these don't detract from the overall enjoyment of the film in any major way. Lets hope the popularity of this film marks a change in direction for big budget Hollywood films although some how I doubt it.


He was the perfect weapon until he became the target.


(Jason to Marie) How could I forget about you? You're the only person I know.

(Marie) Do you have ID?
(Jason) Not really.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Picture 2.35:1 Anamorphic Pin sharp clear transfer.
Audio Dolby Digital 5.1 Yep another good soundtrack.
Features Audio commentary with star Matt Damon and director Doug Liman
Deleted scenes with directors comments
Alternative Ending
Making of Featurrette
Moby music video
DVD ROM faetures
Verdict Great transfer and a farily good selection of extras. However they don't compare well to many other modern releases, which leads me to believe a special collectors edition may become available to rip us off at a later date.

Rating: 3 out of 5

Reviewed by Glitz Link Back Top Home