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Guest Review: George on Bourne

James A. George reviews
The Bourne Legacy

The Bourne trilogy set a new benchmark for the Hollywood action film. Intrigue, mystery and more sophisticated crafting with its action scenes propelled Matt Damon’s Jason Bourne into pop-culture. The last two of the trilogy, directed by Paul Greengrass, took on a looser form than the original but kept the audience sympathetic to Bourne. Looser in terms of keeping to the script too. And perhaps for the best.

The screenwriter for the Bourne films, based on the novels of Robert Ludlum, is Tony Gilroy, now director of The Bourne Legacy. Tony Gilroy made his first big splash however with Michael Clayton, one of the very best political thrillers to ever hit the cinema and rightfully won a great many awards. However, this movie is built up of intense moments touching on a variety of serious issues that never seem to connect or add up. The films subplot explores the dangers and hidden agendas of pharmaceutical companies, but you’d be forgiven for thinking it’s only a problem if you’re a jet-setting super spy.

With Matt Damon not wanting to do a sequel without his previous director, we are provided with Aaron Cross, number five of a military program who has memory and with it some personality. Jeremy Renner gives us glimpses of a real human being that will get angry or make jokes, be selfish or be considerate. Rachel Weisz is always pretty watchable but seems to undergo a rather unexplored case of Stockholm syndrome.

I do appreciate the lack of a typical Hollywood three-act structure and attempt to crescendo to a climax, but a heavy lull at the beginning and pathetic attempts to tie it in to the previous trilogy didn’t let it pay off. It goes to show what a dire state Hollywood is in. A fantastic cast and crew produce some really great moments yet a needless concern to keep as many old characters and weave in previous Bourne plot points needlessly hinder this film so drastically. It is somehow both under-constructed and over-plotted.

I would honestly like to say a lot more about the film but I really can’t. The acting is solid but the incoherence of the plot plays like intervals between the action, the production is good but the shaky-cam close ups don’t highlight it and often hinders the spectacle of the actions scenes that is so vital to a film like this. The moral is, watch Michael Clayton.
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