The Bourne Identity (2002)

Matt Damon (Jason Bourne), Franka Potente (Marie), Chris Cooper (Conklin), Clive Owen (The Professor)

Directed by Doug Liman (Go)

IMDB: A man is picked up by a fishing boat, bullet-riddled and without memory, then races to elude assassins and recover from amnesia.

The name "Bourne" is one from my childhood, when my dad read the Ludlum books. I don't know why it took so long for Keven and I to see this one, but I grabbed it from the library and we weren't disappointed. Not even the seven years since its release can dim what remains a sharp, sexy, tense, and well-crafted action movie.

My only complaints had to do with some of the decisions Marie made, particularly to stay with Bourne at that critical stage just before the Paris car chase. Perhaps her background and what we know of her history--hanging onto a bad situation for too long--exempts her, and that may have been better explored in the book. I like that they stayed together and played the hot romance-under-pressure game, but I wanted more from that moment of decision.

Although Cooper, Owen, and Brian Cox give solid performances, the movie belonged to Franka Potente and Matt Damon. Potente has such a wonderfully angular and surprising face, capable of great beauty while never losing a hard-edged desperation. I enjoy her very much as an actress, which reminds me that I haven't seen Run, Lola, Run either.

And then there's Matt Damon. He's a sweet, smart, handsome, charming, nice guy, who would probably make a fantastic life partner. These are all good things, but I don't lay awake nights wondering how to rope him into becoming my next romance hero.

As unpredictable and supremely competent Jason Bourne, however, he skyrockets to UltraHotLand. Is that a place? He'd be there. I loved the little touches, like when he was escaping through the embassy and grabbed both a police radio and the wall map. Nice. He kept seeming surprised by his own abilities without it straying into extreme "I'm a mutant!" cheese. You get the feeling that without his super spy brilliance, Bourne would've been a lovable dork. Like Matt Damon.

Nicely played, casting!

I loved the unabashedly sappy ending. No hint that the CIA might still be tracking them. Which leads me to my dilemma: does my love for angsty heroes outweigh my desire to keep that happy ending firm in my mind? I know Marie doesn't make it to the closing credits of the sequel, but hmmmmm...he'd probably be seriously dark and brooding once she bites it.

A quality film. Pleased me in many ways.

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