A movie that will change the way spy movies are handled forever, but changing them in such a way that makes them better.
Stripped back to the basics of the genre, Doug Liman (the Director) used emotion between the characters, an extremely strong and in-depth storyline and the use of high octane editing to create a film that is extremely engrossing for viewers and fans of the genre. With a major impact on all future films produced in this genre, Bond movies have changed their approach since this release, The Bourne movies, including this one, have made a massive stand in the movie industry. This is testament to the strength of the source material and the adaptation that the film team had created.
Based largely on Robert Ludlum's spy novel of the same name, the Bourne Identity follows an amnesiac attempting to search for who he is and what his past will hold. Unlike Bond movies, whose protagonist is often under constant gunfire and never gets hit, this narrative begins with Bourne floating in the middle of a fishing channel, three bullets in his back and a code for a bank account implanted in his hip. After being rescued and recuperated by a italian fishing crew, he sets out on his way looking for the truths. When this path introduces cooperations intent on killing Bourne, the CIA and Police to name but a few, he decides to seek out the reasons behind this. After delving into the intentions and reasons behind this Bourne soon discovers a major conspiracy involving the American CIA. Joining a young Gypsy woman, who becomes tied into the seeking, Bourne travels across many different locations in Europe in hopes of ending his ties to the faction intent on his death. As plot lines go, 'The Bourne Identity' has one that is strong enough to keep audiences interested throughout. The fact that the main protagonist has amnesia, means that as Bourne learns about who he is, so do those watching him. This is another strong element to the movie; audience members are able to grow a bond to those characters present. It is complete testament to the original novel, that was produced to such a high quality, and also has well developed and fully worked out characters.
With only a handful of lead roles and a few supporting in his back catalogue of acting, this film marked the first action movie headed by Matt Damon. As such, this allowed a relative unknown actor to be produce a performance that is entirely his own. The way he portrays the assassin and the characteristics associated in peoples mind with the job are completely spot on. Carrying the entire films plot almost alone, Damon is expertly on que with conveying emotion to the audience. Before working on this film, German actress Franka Potente, had only a handful of roles away from her native country. Therefore, her portrayal of Marie completes entirely the role of Bourne. Working out the past together, the chemistry between the two actors is very enduring. Moviegoers who watch this film are able to understand the feelings that the characters have throughout the film, this is entirely down to the strength of the two main actors portrayals. With a supporting cast including Chris Cooper, Clive Owen, Brian Cox, Julia Stiles and Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, the ensemble for this picture is also of a high quality. The actors all come together to produce a performance that is testament to the narrative.
Cinematography and Editing are perhaps the main strengths of this movie outside of the above mentioned aspects. The locations used in this film covey the narrative perfectly. Building locations used for key sequences in this film are spot on. With scenes inside Paris and Switzerland holding key plot lines to the narrative, it was down to the cinematographer and director of photography to base these scenes in locations that support what is happening and are interesting on viewing. With the plot carrying no high octane scenes involving explosions and stunts, it was down to the editor to edit the film in such a way that shows the action sequences to the best that they can be shown. This is achieved fully in all said scenes and the fluidity and speed of the cuts really does add to the overall spectacle of the action. These cuts keep the story engrossing and is a visual treat for the eyes; another strength for this film. In the fight sequences, the choreography is perfect. The speed in which the blows hit and the style that is filmed, means that these sequences have an impact larger than any explosion they could have incorporated within.
Doug Liman has produced a film that captivates and completely visualizes the world of Bourne. Creating a character that holds many mysteries, Damon is able to convey his search for truth perfectly to the audience. The carrying of the film is handled in such a way that it become completely engrossing for audience members, answers are needed for all parties and as such the search is the ultimate strength of this movie. A movie that will change the way spy movies are handled forever, but changing them in such a way that makes them better.