By Kathryn Whitney Boole
“Jason Bourne” is one of those rare movies that straps you into your seat, picks you up, and doesn’t put you back down to earth until the very end. The seamless rhythm of the editing and the excellent performances provide the film with this continuous pace. All the characters become fully realized and the story is told with originality and striking visual concepts. The sound track is so impeccable it becomes part of the realm of the story.
There is a scene on the Las Vegas strip that looked totally unrealistic as it began to play out, as the traffic that actually clogs the strip day and night seemed to be missing. As soon as that thought crossed my mind, however, the traffic manifested and became part of the exposition of the action.
There are some beautifully shot scenes at the beginning of the film, of a chaotic mass insurrection in Athens that seem entirely vivid and real. Although actually shot in Tenerife in the Canary Islands, the landscape was recreated so perfectly that I was sure I could see, through the crowds of frenzied demonstrators, familiar landmarks I’ve visited in Athens’ Syntagma Square in front of the Parliament building. Upon discovering that writer/director Paul Greengrass started his career as director/producer of the hard driving 1980s Granada Television documentary series “World in Action,” I understood why the crowd scenes in “Jason Bourne” were so sharply drawn and seemed to move in real time.
For this project Greengrass brought in Christopher Rouse, his editor from “Captain Phillips” and other “Bourne” films. Rouse not only did the editing for “Jason Bourne” — he also received a writing credit. Cinematographer Barry Ackroyd also worked previously with Greengrass and Rouse on “Captain Phillips,” as did production designer Paul Kirby.
Matt Damon is one of the few actors who could make Jason Bourne seem magnetic even though his emotional manifestations are extremely subtle. Damon communicates the conflicts of this character with no memory, in whom moral instincts keep surfacing unexpectedly to provide annoying tics to his driving focus.
Alicia Vikander is perfect for her complex, extremely intelligent yet deeply mysterious role of Heather Lee. Her training as a ballerina informs her physicality as an actress, allowing her to convey thoughts and feelings without words. Vincent Cassel is superb as always, as the overwhelmingly perseverant villain. Riz Ahmed adds personality to what could have been a nondescript role as a Silicon Valley tech mogul. Julia Stiles reprises her role of Nicky Parsons with angst and sincerity.
You don’t need to have seen any of the other installments in the “Bourne” franchise to be completely wrapped up in this beautifully made film.
Rated PG-13. 123 minutes.
Kathryn Whitney Boole has spent most of her life in the entertainment industry, which is the backdrop for remarkable adventures with extraordinary people. She is a Talent Manager with Studio Talent Group in Santa Monica. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org. For previously published reviews, see https://kwboole.wordpress.com.