Written by Tony Gilroy and William Blake Herron
Directed by Doug Liman

Running Time: 1:56

Rated PG-13
for violence and some language.

Matt Damon
as Jason Bourne

Franka Potente
as Marie Kreutz

Clive Owen
as The Professor

Chris Cooper
as Ted Conklin

Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje
as Nykwana Wombosi

Julia Stiles
as Nicolette

Brian Cox
as Ward Abbott

The Bourne Identity (Double Sided)
The Bourne Identity
(Double Sided)


All Matt Damon, all the time. The Bourne Identity was Matt Damon's coming out party as he takes his first true solo lead and runs with it. With a good pace, an engaging story and a likeable lead, I found the movie to be pretty entertaining.


Matt Damon plays Jason Bourne, a CIA operative who loses his memory after being shot two times in the back and left for dead. He is picked up by a ship and sets off to find out who he is, and why he has all these abilities to do things he can't remember. His journey takes him from Switzerland to France and along the way he meets Marie (Franka Potente), a random woman he finds inside the U.S. Embassy. Together they try and piece Jason's life together bit by bit. As the movie moves along, we learn more and more about what happened the night Jason was left for dead. He is being chased by unknown people, and they're all trying to kill him.


I can't really say too much of what happens in the movie, because much like Memento, you learn more as the movie progresses. The audience knows a little more than Bourne does, but not everything. I'm sure there are a lot of people who haven't read the book the movie was based on, that will guess the eventual ending, but it still makes for a fun film. There was a lot of action including some very cool hand-to-hand fight scenes. The pace of the movie kept going right along, and I thought Doug Liman, who up till now did smaller pictures, used some interesting angles in some of his shots. I particularly enjoyed the scene with Bourne escaping from the Embassy and the camera work involved there.

I also enjoyed the interplay with Damon and Potente. They had a certain chemistry that worked for me. Their relationship didn't start off hot and heavy like it might in a lot of films, but they built slowly and had some good comedic play off of each other. I didn't enjoy Chris Cooper's character, mainly because I didn't know who he was. In fact, most of the secondary characters were never given job titles. I couldn't tell how important any of them were in the whole scheme of things. And what was Julia Stiles doing in this movie? She's a big enough star that she doesn't need to take roles like this, my only thinking is that she either really wanted to be in this movie, or she's friends with someone who had a part in making the film. Or maybe this is her way of trying to get out of teen romance films and onto other genres.


Overall, The Bourne Identity was a fairly good film. The plot was kept simple so the entire focus was on Matt Damon. If you like him, chances are you'll enjoy the film. If you hate him, you probably won't like the film. If you're somewhere in the middle, I suggest giving the movie a try. It's not a big special effects film like other summer movies, but it still has a lot of bang for its buck.

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reviewed 06/16/02

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