a critiQal film review The Bourne Identity (2002)

Plot: An amnesiac (Damon) is rescued by an Italian fishing boat. All he carries for identification are the bullets in his back and an account number implanted in his skin. He discovers he possesses a wide range of talents, from speaking several languages to knowing several forms of self-defense.

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  • ...a surprisingly good performance by Matt Damon helps make this one more than just another summer movie.

I remember reading the Robert Ludlum novel The Bourne Identity a few years ago. When I first saw the trailer for the big screen adaptation, The Bourne Identity, I was curious as to whether Matt Damon could pull this off.

He actually did a surprisingly good job here. Damon would not have been my first pick for the role though as he always seemed to be too innocent to play these kind of characters. This role, where he plays an amnesiac, actually is a great introduction into action roles for a babyface like Matt. He still gets to portray a lot of innocence throughout most of the film, due to his lack of memory.

As his memory begins to return, he steps up the action, easing the viewer into seeing him in action sequences. A great career choice, as it allows him to step into the action film genre with an ease a normal action-packed film wouldn’t offer.

Franka Potente (of Run Lola Run (1999) fame) was excellent as Marie. She seemed a bit in awe of Matt in The Bourne Identity. I don’t know if this was because he’s a well-known name or if she was supposed to act that way, but it worked, regardless. She has the “innocent girl” routine going well here, and it’s very believable. The other characters were also well played, and as I said, Matt Damon was the only one who I thought may have been a bit miscast.

There was plenty of action in The Bourne Identity, of course, but they didn’t overdo it. Too many movies are doing that these days it seems, and it detracts from the storyline. The movie was definitely story-driven, and it will be interesting to see how it stacks up against the other summer movies out now that are relying more on special effects to wow the audience than a story to involve the audience.

The car chase has gotten raves, and rightly so. It was one of those fun car chases, rather than super flashy. Just watching that little mini zip around, and hearing the motor revving overtime when it’s going about 50 was a blast.

All in all, The Bourne Identity is definitely a movie that stands out from the standard summer fare, but may not be for everyone. If you’re more into the flashy special effects and don’t mind the movie being a bit light on plot, you may want to check out Spider-Man (2002) instead.

If you’re hankering for a more plot-driven movie, then The Bourne Identity may be right up your alley.

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