Jason Bourne movie director: Paul Greengrass
Jason Bourne movie cast: Matt Damon, Alicia Vikander, Tommy Lee Jones, Riz Ahmed, Vincent Cassel
The CIA Director spending the entirety of a film himself working the phones to eliminate an agent? While bodies are splayed throughout Europe and mayhem left across Las Vegas? Yes, the Agency has come that far from Iran-Contra and “plausible deniability”. However, then, Jason Bourne is a film of the Trump era — being ‘deniably plausible’ is enough.
And so not only does America show its muscle, on the ground and in the sky, with how quickly it can spot a needle in a haystack — because this haystack shall not be needled — patriotism and treachery figure high up there as points of discussion.
For even Jason Bourne must be proved a true blue American patriot (yes, for all that, he seems a Democrat, knowing his countries, summoning one comrade in the fight for the free world under the statue of Athena in Athens). He also spends his time “off the grid” (CIA for hiding) doing prizefighting on the Albania-Serbia border. Who is looking there?
You must go by those symbolisms to look for some larger narrative here, for there is but one scene of people actually sitting across a table and talking. They are too busy ordering the kills otherwise, generally in front of impersonal monitors. The one finished sentence mostly is “He (Jason Bourne) got away.” The frown on the impassive but beautiful face of Heather Lee (Vikander is actually called that), the CIA cyber expert, just shows another slight furrow.
This is Jason Bourne’s fifth film on the run, four of which have actually featured Bourne, and Damon as him, trying to escape the CIA and his bloody past therein. Greengrass has directed two previous ones.
In the inter-continental chase fest this time around, the other guy called upon to prove his patriotism is a man in sneakers and jeans, introducing his free search platform to the world and resisting CIA efforts to co-opt him in its global surveillance effort. Yes, Aaron Kalloor (Ahmed, Kalloor is Indian no matter how they pronounce it) is meant to stand in for the man in sneakers you are thinking he is. And if you are not, this film also written by Greenglass nudges you in that direction by talking about whether privacy matters in the war against terror.
While that T word gets thrown around a lot, as CIA Director Dewey (Lee Jones) talks about “how many lives we have saved”, what Jason Bourne is about is leaving them dead. It is mostly him that they want killed, of course, but as Dewey sends his “asset” (a one-note Cassel) after him, the latter doesn’t particularly care who all are squashed in the way.
And squashed there are many, starting with democracy activists in Greece, serving as the unfortunate backdrop for a very lengthy, very poorly shot and very unimpressive opening sequence (Greengrass’s hand-held camera style to approximate chaos is simply chaotic here); previous Bourne residue Nicky Parsons (Julia Stiles); very many CIA agents; and tens upon tens of cars and slot machines in Vegas.
Watch: Jason Bourne movie trailer
Why Vegas? Really, you will grudge the CIA some fun?