Lose your long-term memory and your immediate recall is your only reprieve - that’s when you know you’ve got an identity crisis.
Quite like Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) does when life for him begins at 29, straight out of the Spanish sea with two bullet wounds and a coded capsule branding his back.
Jason finds himself capable of extraordinarily acute bodily functions, but while his chiseled reflexes are almost instinctive, he is still stalked by the enigma of his existence. He begins to realise that these furiously fast strengths and mental sciences were not genetic, but cultured through his former job of a skilled assassin. Now learning that their agent isn’t dead as they thought he was, Jason’s bosses mark him down for death. He hitches a ride to Paris with a stranger, Marie Kruetz, but realizing he’s now the one blacklisted by the bureau, has to travel further with her, trying to deflect the bull’s-eye on his back.
With more mud than meat, you begin to believe this is going to be a racy thriller, what with its fantastically-grim opening sequence of rescue and revival; however, the movie simply fails to identify itself. And when it finally does, you’re not very impressed. The outline for a film that deals with espionage and lost identity has plenty of promise, but Doug Liman focuses so much on the picture, he loses the print. The only thing which truly excites is the display case of Europe in winter, accentuated by a uniform sterile blue glaze, and the super action sequences.
Nothing else about this is provocative enough - not the dialogue or the dramatic performance. Damon is denied the flexibility of character which has grown to become his earmark, and is allotted a role that does not come out of being dazed and confused. Franka Potente isn’t minx material and looks as lost as Damon does.This article was first published on 15 Oct 2002.