Sunday, April 29, 2012
The first Bourne Identit....hello! What's that?
You know, some guys just find their calling in life. John le Carre does spy stuff, Stephen King does horror stuff, William Peter Blatty does Exorcist stuff, Michael Crichton did the blockbuster stuff... do you have anything by Robert Ludlum? Moleman, even Robert Ludlum doesn't have anything by Robert Ludlum. But if there's a three word title with a "The", a name, and an adjective, chances are Ludlum's on top of it. The Osterman Weekend, The Rhinemann Exchange, The Holcroft Covenant, The Hades Factor... seeing a pattern yet? Crazy white people. As for the director, Doug Liman, I've followed him with some interest... at least, I think I have. I consider this one redemption for unleashing Vince Vaughn on an unsuspecting public with Swingers. Yup, student workshops aside, he was clearly ready for the big time with this one. And Damon needed a hit kinda badly. I think he's doing pretty well now, but that's probably not a stretch. He can afford to be a liberal publicly! That's gotta mean some serious bankroll... just checked his IMDb bio. Lucky bastid.
Well, my viewing companion was disappointed that some of the fight scenes looked sped up, but not enough to boycott the movie outright. I tried to tell him that it's the modern style now. Jumpy action! Fast dolly shots! Cars don't just drive down the road anymore, they quasi-pixellate. This is Day of the Jackal on steroids... I'll get to that one someday, I swear.
On to the plot... is there any better conceit in movies than amnesia? Total Recall, The Long Kiss Goodnight, The Night Before with Keanu Reeves... I know, is there any other? A few, actually! Body Shots. Sheesh. I'll bet The Onion didn't like it. Well, what else do you expect from the guy who directed Gia and Original Sin? If Jolie's not in it, I don't wanna see it... unless it's a cult classic. Is it yet? Now I'm slipping into attention deficit syndrome! To get back on track, as far as I can remember, Keanu didn't turn out to be a professional assassin, but pretty much everyone else is. Add Unknown to the list. The joy of discovery as we unwrap the plot onion without our eyes watering too much.
While Matt's regaining his muscle memory, taking out bad guys and authority figures in his wake, he finds he can't make it in this crazy world alone. Much like Redford in Three Days of the Condor, he needs a partner. His choice ends up being a great one in terms of connection to society at large. The authorities are baffled. A chance encounter? I liked the fact that the CIA's office in which they're tracking Damon isn't the alpha office, and they clearly don't have the alpha computers. Surely some existed in 2002. Apparently this project is hush-hush, but the stakes couldn't be higher. At the top of the command chain, Brian Cox is very worried about this, but at the end of the movie he barely spends any time on it at all when he's called before the panel. Go figure.
While the editing of the movie is only headache-inducing in the big action sequences, I still consider the big Mini Cooper chase sequence the big action setpiece of the whole show. Maybe I'm wrong about that. It happens near the middle of the movie, anyhow. Doesn't happen often enough in America... and maybe that's a good thing. This chase sequence is handled much better, much more realistically than the big chase at the beginning of Transporter 1, if I may say so. America rules!... duh! I forgot to add that I recognized the music they used during this chase sequence... I don't know the name of it, but they also used it in Collateral, which was playing in a nightclub that Tom Cruise ends up shooting up. Where's MY Peabody? Waaaaa......................................
Matt Damon's kind of a strange movie star. For me, he's the gamma dog of the Ocean's 11 crew. For my viewing companion, he's the man. Smart, handsome, makes good project choices, and thought that he really sold the Bourne character. I didn't see it back in the day at the time, but I do now. And shame on me, I thought the girl ended up dead at the end of this one... sorry, SPOILER ALERT. But Lola ran far enough away for the happy ending on this one, at least. Yeah, we've come a long way from the fanciful CIA of the 1979 In-Laws. Why anyone would want to be a part of that is beyond me. And clearly Damon's no friend to them. We got the Bourne trilogy, we got The Good Shepherd... damn! I got that one, too! I'd be surprised if we're going to rewatch that one any time soon... but we did recently rewatch Casino, so anything's possible. I guess my friend was trying to cleanse his cinematic pallet after that; not so much getting ready for Bourne 4 with a DIFFERENT GUY... Oh, and a brief shout out to Clive Owen. I thought Closer was his big American debut. Not so! Niiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiice.
-so sayeth The Movie Hooligan