Classic Movie Review: The Bourne Supremacy (2004)

Posted: April 13, 2013 in Drama
Tags: ,

bourne supremacy

Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) is living happily off the grid with his girlfriend Marie (Franka Potente) in Goa India.  Meanwhile, Russian agent Kirill (Karl Urban)  kills two CIA agents, and plants Bourne’s fingerprints at the site of the shootings.  Kirill then finds Bourne in India, and tries to shoot him, but kills Marie instead, Kirill wounds Bourne, and thinks he’s dead, but Bourne escapes to Naples.  At the CIA, Pamela Landy (Joan Allen) confronts Ward Abbot (Brian Cox) about Treadstone, Abbot is evasive, and is clearly hiding something.  Bourne is haunted by a vague memory of his first mission in Berlin, which he can’t fully remember.  He calls Landy, and asks her why the CIA is hunting him, Landy tells him about the murders and his fingerprints, but Bourne knows he was in India at the time.  Bourne thinks Landy is now running Treadstone.  He even goes as far as kidnapping Nikki to find out about his first mission, but does she know anything?  What does Ward Abbot know?  Why is Kirill trying to frame and assassinate Bourne?  What will happen?  Will the Abbot wing of the CIA kill Bourne?  Will Landy succeed in bringing Bourne in alive?

I like The Bourne  Supremacy, for entirely different reasons that I liked the Bourne Identity.  The Bourne Identity was all about discovery, discovering who Jason Bourne was, and  following along as he feels his way through his identity.  The second story is much more complex.  The good guys aren’t necessarily good guys, and the hero hasn’t always done heroic things, he’s human, not a machine, even though he was trained as a killing machine.  Life has a lot of grey areas, it’s not always black and white.  This movie reflects that ambiguity.  Bourne has a conscience and that’s what makes the character appealing, the more he remembers, the less he likes what he has done.  There is the dramatic tension of Bourne trying to remember what he’s done, and him being tormented when he does remember what he did.  The acting is superb.  Damon plays the conflicted Bourne very well, these movies made him a superstar and it’s easy to see why.  Joan Allen is very good as a woman trying to find out what Treadstone is and trying to get to the bottom of it, and Bryan Cox is excellent as the bad guy, who plays the role slyly.

The writing is subtle, and that’s good.  The story differentiates itself enough from the Bourne Identity to make this movie distinct.  It’s easy to make a sequel that is just like the previous one, so I admire and this movie because it’s different and also because the so-called good guys are morally ambiguous, and the hero does not want to do what he’s been trained to do, but he doesn’t want to die either .  The pacing of the movie is quick and the shots of Goa are quite scenic, while the shots of Russia (really Czechoslovakia) are dank and cold.

The Bourne Supremacy. A supremely good film.

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