Jason Bourne is relentless

Can’t get to a carnival this summer? Still want to ride a roller coaster? Jason Bourne is the movie for you.

The one word that comes to mind when watching this latest film in the Bourne series is relentless.

The movie opens to reveal a greatly aged and somewhat wizened Bourne riding a jeep through a desert in some undisclosed eastern European country. We don’t know what kind of mission he’s on, but his demeanour is grim.

It turns out that walking away from the CIA wasn’t all roses and sunshine because Bourne now has to live off the grid and support himself bare-knuckle boxing. On the upside, he’s fitter than fit; on the downside, his face has taken a few beatings and shows it.

Cutaway to a snowy night in Iceland. Nicky Parsons (Julia Stiles), one time agent and co-worker to Bourne is seen entering a computer hacker's lair.

Surrounded by dim lighting and computers that look like something borrowed from an old War Games set, she infiltrates the CIA’s mainframe computer and downloads secret operations files.

Despite the thousands of files available to her, she locates one that shows the CIA was following Bourne long before he was recruited to join the top-secret division. What does it mean? She must find Bourne and tell him.

Cutaway to CIA Technology hub in Virginia. The security breach has been detected and computer expert Heather Lee (Alicia Vikander) is able to embed malware at the last moment, which will enable them to pinpoint its exact location the next time the thumb drive is opened.

Going on pure intuition and some fancy techno-footwork, she is also able to determine that Parsons was the former operative who stole the files.

Cutaway to CIA Director Robert Dewey (Tommy Lee Jones) who wants the security breach stopped at all costs. The fact that Parsons was previously linked to Bourne scares the hell out of him and we know that he will stop at nothing to neutralize Bourne once and for all.

Cutaway to the young entrepreneur Aaron Kaloor (Riz Ahmed), who heads a Facebookesque company, Deep Dream, that has more than a billion users. He crawled into bed with the CIA when he was just a start up, and he is about to launch the software’s next generation, which will catapult users into a new cyber frontier.

He longs to be free of the CIA and its hold on his company.

So begins the 123-minute roller-coaster ride that takes us from Athens to Berlin to London to Las Vegas. This ride is fraught with explosions, chase scenes (motorcycle and car) and gruelling fist fights as the CIA employs every bit of technological wizardry at its disposal to find Bourne.

They even call in their ringer, a chillingly efficient operative only known as The Asset (Vincent Cassel).

If you’ve ever been paranoid about a lack of personal privacy, this movie will have you looking over your shoulder at every turn.

The face-recognition software employed by the agency means that crowds are no longer a safe place to disappear; it can tap into any social media post and every public location that has a security camera can now be scanned to find your face.

Big Brother is indeed watching and he’s none too happy.

Matt Damon plays Bourne with a feral intensity. He is a born survivor and is able to operate on pure instinct and utilize anything within arm’s reach to vanquish his opponent.

He’s been “buried and off the grid” for 10 years, so it is very realistic and telling that he would have to take the thumb drive to someone else who would know how to open it as a lot has changed since he was in the know.

With Bourne, there is no James-Bond-style, high-tech gadgetry or witty repartee. Bourne has little to say and would rather speak with his fists. This film compares with The Revenant for how little dialogue this lead character is given. A scowl is worth a thousand words.

Jones is eerily brilliant as the sociopathic CIA director. He gives directives to have people killed with the same ease he would in deciding between salad and fries and has no qualms secretly dispensing with numerous CIA operatives in order to manipulate events to his favour.

Jones has honed his craft to a razor’s edge and can convey in a glance whether he is bemused, weary or ready to plunge a dagger. Jones is a craftsman and it is an absolute pleasure to watch him work.

Academy Award winning Swedish actress Vikander plays Agent Heather Lee and (as she points out at the end of the film) is the exact opposite of Director Dewey.

Where he is old school, she is high tech, where he is hard, she is soft. Or is she? There is a lot more going on with this pretty, young waif than meets the eye and we are left wondering who we can trust.

While a familiarity with the original Bourne series would be helpful, moviegoers who are not familiar with the character will still be able to follow the story and enjoy the film.

Roller coasters are thrilling and fun, but this film would have been better served with a little more down time.

As an audience, we need time to exhale and brace ourselves for the next adrenaline rush. There is no time to allow us to do that, which lessens the overall thrill of the ride.

Nevertheless, this roller coaster is worth lining up for.

I give this film 4 out of 5 hearts.

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About the Author

Kim Foreman-Rhindress is a graduate of the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York City and London Western Conservatory of music for piano and voice. 

Kim has been performing in theatre and film for over 30 years in Canada, NYC, Palm Beach, Los Angeles, and the Netherlands. She has written several plays which have been produced in Canada and the U.S., and is the founder of Kelowna Voice Lab - helping people find their voice, be it singing or acting. 

A working musician, she performs regularly in Kelowna with her husband, Jim Rhindress, in an acoustic duo Smitten, and with her vintage trio Kitsch 'n Sync.  

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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