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Movie Review: The Bourne Supremacy

The Bourne Supremacy
Directed by Paul Greengrass
Written by Tony Gilroy based on the novel by Robert Ludlum
Universal, 2004

Matt Damon proved with The Bourne Identity that he could be a kick-ass action star, but who had really heard of Paul Greengrass before The Bourne Supremacy? Then known, if at all, for documentaries and 2002’s Bloody Sunday, it was interesting that Liman didn’t take the reins again after guiding the first film into success. Here he serves as an executive producer.

Well, not too long after The Bourne Supremacy begins, I immediately felt bad for not knowing who Paul Greengrass was. Filming action with immediacy and (for the most part) coherency, he pulls you right into the action, beginning with an awesome chase of Bourne (Damon) and his gal Marie (Franka Portente) from an assassin, Kirill (Karl Urban). After this sequence, more pieces of Bourne’s past must be discovered. He told CIA man Alexander Conklin at the end of Identity that if he wasn’t left alone, he’d come after everyone responsible. And man, does he ever.

This time, CIA relative-underling Pamela Landy (Joan Allen) is trying to find Bourne in connection with the murders of a couple of her agents, murders we know Bourne is framed for involving shady dealings with the CIA and a Russian businessman. Offering his two cents on Bourne is Ward Abbott (Brian Cox), but this is Landy’s case. Meanwhile, Bourne becomes haunted by memories he can’t quite understand, actions he took that are so far removed from the man he now finds himself to be, that he feels the need for repentance.

Greengrass’s style just grabs me; it’s the same sort of intensity he brought later to United 93 that made that picture so breathlessly gripping. With some shaky cam and you-are-there camera placement, combined with the very interesting story of Bourne as a whole, The Bourne Supremacy is just an amazing flick. Certainly one of the best action films of the decade along with its predecessor.

In 2004, The Bourne Supremacy went on to gross over $170 million, with an incredible opening weekend of over $50 million. It placed 8th in a year that featured a number of hits.

Follows: The Bourne Identity

Next: The Bourne Ultimatum

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