Directed by Paul Greengrass Starring Matt Damon, Tommy Lee Jones, Alicia Vikander and Vincent Cassel Film Review by Chris Olson It's 2016, and the world is a dangerous place. The spy genre has not been this relevant since the Cold War, and filmmakers hoping to make big social commentary need only turn on their laptops and pick today's burning issue for inspiration. With a plethora of thrillers and action movies to choose from, how does a director make a big splash when everyone is already soaking? Well...in the case of Paul Greengrass and his return to the Jason Bourne franchise, it's go big or go home.
Set several years after Matt Damon jumped off the building into the East River at the end of The Bourne Ultimatum (2007), his character Jason is now laying low as a street fighter, making money by punching the lights out of people. During one fight, though, a face from his past emerges and he is suddenly thrown back into the world of CIA shenanigans and black ops banter. That's all this film reviewer will be giving of the plot, for two reasons: A) our beloved readers generally hate spoilers and B) we signed an embargo form that looked so serious we had to sign it in blood! Okay I'm being hyperbolic but there were a lot of paragraphs. Back on huge form, director Paul Greengrass deliver the biggest, fiercest film of the year. It is quite simply another level of action thriller that operates at a pace unrivalled by the likes of Bond, Kingsman or other. Damon bulldozes through the film like an unstoppable force and Alicia Vikander is absolutely brilliant. The set pieces are brutally engaging and work on a level so huge that the ferocity of the violence is matched only by the magnitude of the performances. Only a film with heavyweight talent could deliver a film like this without it veering into TV-style slosh, and the turns by Vikander, Damon, Vincent Cassel and Tommy Lee Jones are like the grease in the gun, making this a slick and deadly operation. Sure there is a fair bit of contrivance, and continuity or believability can always be called into question - especially when Bourne should probably have perished 20 times in the opening third - but Greengrass' franchise has always attained a quasi-fantasy status whereby being shot three times and falling off a building does not stop you brushing yourself off and getting stuck into a high speed car chase. This is incredibly smart filmmaking that not only exists within the genre but is determining its parameters.
The themes of the film are relevant and there is a brutal poignancy to the film which is harrowingly reinforced within the opening ten minutes during a pulsating riot in Greece. The sheer chaotic realism of this scene is palpable and quickly negates any claims that this Jason Bourne film is unnecessary. It pierces into the cacophony of rhetoric which is surrounding global instability in a way that is loud, clear and forceful. As a measuring stick, if you liked the first three Bourne films then grab yourself a cinema ticket, because You Know His Name deserves big screen action. And don't worry, You Don't Know His Name (Jeremy Renner) does not make an appearance...crap does that break the embargo? They could be coming for me...
We were Bourne, to give you more Film Reviews - this way.