The Bourne Identity

Who am I and why am I here? These are not the questions asked of a person pondering the nature of the universe and existence, rather they are the questions asked by Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) in the new thriller “The Bourne Identity” as he attempts to unravel the deadly mystery in which he has awaken. Found floating in the sea by a fishing boat, Bourne is in bad shape from two gunshot wounds and hours in the rough seas. Nursed back to help by the ship’s doctor, Bourne awakens to have no memory regarding his name and his past, yet finds that he has an uncanny ability for languages and strategical analysis. Further complicating the mystery of his past is a small laser projector capsule that was implanted in Bourne’s thigh that contains only the name and account number of a bank in Switzerland.

With little else to go on, Bourne travels to Switzerland where he uncovers a safety deposit box at the bank filled with large amounts of money, six passports, and a gun. Using an address from the passports, Bourne decides to travel to Paris in an attempt to discover the truth behind his identity. It does not take long for Bourne to become a marked man as soon after leaving the bank, police and other government officials are in pursuit, and Bourne discovers that he is highly adept at defending himself and evasion, yet has no idea how and why. After being attacked in the US embassy, Bourne is forced to seek a ride to Paris from a girl who seems down on her luck named Marie (Franka Potente). Though weary of Bourne Marie cant can’t pass up the $20,000 he is offering for the ride, and agrees to drive him. Along the way, Marie learns of his amnesia and as she no real roots, she grows attached to Bourne and determined to help him solve his mystery. Before long, the two are wanted by every police agency on the continent and the target of government killers as Bourne and Marie try to stay one step ahead of the law and survive the assassins as they try to make sense of their world torn asunder.

Complicating matters are Bourne’s bosses at the CIA who see him as an embarrassment since he failed to assassinate an exiled African leader named Wombosi (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje), who is threatening to blow the whistle on US dealings and contacts in his country unless the CIA helps return him to power. Bourne is supposed to be a person who does not exist, and since he has failed to report in, his superiors see him as a loose cannon sitting on a very tense political situation, as his mission is not the sort of thing that is sanctioned nor approved by the government in which he represents but rather by rogue leaders with their own agendas.

The race is on for Bourne and Marie, as they attempt to find safety while helping Jason remember who he is, and why so many people want him dead before its to late as the pacing of the film is t times fast and furious, The acting by Damon is solid in this modern adaptation of the classic book by Robert Ludlum, and the supporting players do solid if unspectacular work. There were a few gapes in logic in the film but overall was a solid and well-crafted drama. Director Doug Liman gets the most from Damon who gives a strong performance in the role, as does the supporting cast.

4 stars out of 5