|Pick of the Week:|
Reviewed by Ivana Redwine
"He was the perfect weapon until he became the target."
Matt Damon and Franka Potente make an appealing screen couple in the slick spy thriller "The Bourne Identity," which is based on Robert Ludlum's bestselling novel. The movie is well-paced, contains exciting action sequences, and features charming European locations. I had a very good time watching this film at home on DVD recently, and the DVD comes with quite a few bonus materials, which I have listed below.
"The Bourne Identity" opens with a sequence in the Mediterranean Sea 60 miles south of Marseilles. There Italian fishermen discover a man (Matt Damon) floating in the water and bring him aboard their boat. They remove two bullets from him, as well as a capsule that has been implanted under his skin. The capsule contains the information "000-7-17-12-0-14-26 Gemeinschaft Bank Zurich." The man makes a good recovery from his ordeal, but he's suffering from amnesia.
When the fishing boat docks, a kindly fisherman gives the man money to take the train to Zurich, where he goes to Gemeinschaft Bank and accesses a safe deposit box. Inside it are several thick bundles of cash, a gun, and a U.S. passport in the name Jason Bourne. There's also a French-language identity card in the box giving Bourne's address as 104 Rue du Jardin, 75005 Paris.
Soon Bourne encounters a down-on-her-luck young German woman named Marie Kreutz (Franka Potente). He offers her $20,000 to drive him to Paris, where he hopes to be able to find out more about himself. On the road trip, Bourne and Marie start to fall for each other, and they stay together for most of the rest of the movie.
Meanwhile, at CIA Headquarters in Langley, Virginia, there's a frenzy of activity. There Ted Conklin (Chris Cooper) is told that a mission to assassinate exiled African leader Nykwana Wombosi has failed. Conklin also learns that Bourne has visited Gemeinschaft Bank in Zurich and is traveling with Marie in her car. Conklin gives the order, "I want Bourne in a body bag by sundown."
Most of the rest of the movie takes place in Paris, where Bourne and Marie fall in love. But CIA assassins keep popping up to try to kill Bourne, and he decides he must do whatever it takes to protect his lover. Eventually Conklin travels to Paris, and when he and Bourne meet in a dramatic showdown, Bourne finally remembers his past life. After an action-packed climax, the film comes to a satisfying, feel-good end.
I liked Matt Damon a lot in this movie, probably better than in anything I've seen him in before. He turns out to be a surprisingly good action hero of the cerebral type, and this fits his character. Franka Potente makes a terrific love interest for Damon, and there is good romantic chemistry between the leads. I really enjoyed the intimate sequence where Damon dyes and then cuts Potente's hair.
action sequences are exciting, and they didn't go on so long I got bored.
I liked the cinematography, too, particularly the location shooting in
Paris, Prague, and Mykonos. I don't think there are any deep insights
into the human condition in "The Bourne Identity," but if you're
just looking for two hours of pure entertainment, I highly recommend this
Widescreen Anamorphic (2.35:1)
With Director Doug Liman
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