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JASON BOURNE

SYNOPSIS: Jason Bourne (Matt Damon), now remembering who he truly is, tries to uncover hidden truths about his past.

Review by Louise Keller:
Gripping from the outset, the most powerful thing about this tense action thriller is that it is intensely personal with a great sense of high stakes and risks. This is Matt Damon's fifth film as Jason Bourne (he is also credited as producer), and here Paul Greengrass, who has directed four of them) has penned the screenplay with his editor, Christopher Rouse. Driven by character, this is a film with scale: far flung locations, extravagant action sequences and a central plot that connects the present to the past, unraveling secrets that rebound on the connections between the characters.

Technology is key throughout, with CTTV footage, GPS tracking, remote downloads and communications playing an integral part in the multi-pronged narrative. It all starts with a security breach from Iceland after which time, the alert is on to find and track down Jason Bourne who has been off the grid for years. We first see him on the Greek border.

The all-familiar Treadstone files are once again unearthed from the aptly named Black Operations folder and Julia Styles is back as Nicky Parsons, eager to share her latest discovery with Bourne - about his original recruitment and the critical involvement by his father.

The screenplay is intelligent in that it is not simplistic, nor is there one villain to counter the gravitas of its protagonist. Tommy Lee Jones is detached and unlikeable as CIA director Dewey; every crevice in his well-worn face adding to the weight of his agenda. Vincent Cassel is superb as the brooding Asset, a man of few words who likes to work alone from the shadows and make his own decisions. He too has his own agenda, including a personal vendetta against Bourne. Alicia Vikander is an interesting addition to the cast as Heather Lee, an ambitious, capable agent working with Dewey, who has motivation to bring in Bourne; but why? The story strand involving a Steve Jobs-style billionaire (Riz Ahmed) launching the social media Deep Dream Corporation is the catalyst that brings all the characters together.

Highlights are two chase sequences, the first of which takes place at night in the streets of Rome, where crowd protests and police barricades form the backdrop as Bourne's motor bike screams up and down flights of steps. As for the final lengthy chase sequence in Las Vegas, it is as showy as the ostentatious city itself, when a black sedan and SWAT truck perform acrobatics on the brightly lit strip, mowing down cars as though they were blades of grass, and ending at the Riviera Hotel, with an incredible stunt in which the car defies gravity and crash lands on the truck's roof. I sat with my mouth open throughout this sequence, which is an apt lead up to the final confrontation between Bourne and the Asset.

If you have followed the latest Bourne action franchise, you will not want to miss this edge of seat thriller, which guarantees it will not be the last.

Review by Andrew L. Urban:
Fast paced, engaging, inventive, intelligent and thrilling, Jason Bourne reminds us what a talented director Paul Greengrass is - and what a great script writer, too. Did I say fast paced? It feels as if a four hour film is played at double speed to take our breath away. Not only are the multiple chases - whether on foot inside buildings or on vehicles in city streets - nail biting, but the tension is maintained through the (relatively few) internal exchanges between the key characters. I feel for the orchestra, who contribute enormously with a big, varied, demanding score, which evidently took two composers to write. Not surprised.

Jokes aside, the score is terrific as both complement to the action and mood setting. And the mood is danger. Jason Bourne (Matt Damon in top form) is in dour mood, actually, living precariously in the cold, outside the CIA program he feels is a threat to him (and immoral) - and which feels he is a threat to it. The embodiment of this fear from within is the director himself, Robert Dewey - played with restrained, menacing and craggy authority by Tommy Lee Jones. In the shadowy world of secrets, his operative on the ground, his 'asset', is the hired killer simply known as Asset, played by Vincent Cassel, in a thoroughly vicious and credibly scary performance.

Alicia Vikander has a terrific role as Heather Lee, the senior CIA executive who is more than she appears, and she stamps it with her signature. She really 'owns' this role. Everyone is first class, and the characters are all well defined, even in support roles.

Co-writer Christopher Rose doubles as editor, and his contribution is enormous, bringing pace, clarity and a thundering rhythm to the film.

The other star of the project is the spectacular technology that is showcased to such effect. From the images hijacked from CCTV cameras around the globe to computer file processing and GPS sleuthing, the capacity of the CIA to harness this virtual power is both impressive and worrying. Indeed, that's the point. The film's subplot concerns Dewey's intention to secretly access the newly developed app from Deep Dream, whose boss Aaron Kalloor (Riz Ahmed) has second thoughts about his deal with this particular devil. It's a pointedley relevant element in the screenplay, and makes an excellent backdrop for the action. Oh yes, and it's really fast paced.

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 2
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 0

JASON BOURNE (M)
(US, 2016)

CAST: Matt Damon, Alicia Vikander, Julia Stiles, Tommy Lee Jones, Riz Ahmed, Vincent Cassel, Bill Camp

PRODUCER: Matt Damon, Paul Greengrass, Gregory Goodman, Frank Marshall

DIRECTOR: Paul Greengrass

SCRIPT: Paul Greengrass, Christopher Rouse (characters Robert Ludlum)

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Barry Ackroyd

EDITOR: Christopher Rouse

MUSIC: David Buckley, John Powell

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Paul Kirby

RUNNING TIME: 123 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Universal

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: July 28, 2016







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