Summer Film Series: Vol. 2, No. 9: THE BOURNE SUPREMACY
The first Bourne movie is high on my list of favorites, and I never tire of watching it. I love Matty, and I love him in this role. There’s just not much in the first movie to improve upon. But The Bourne Supremacy did just that. It took the first story, the characters and premises, and it enlarged them; Supremacy gave a life (so to speak) to Jason Bourne that I didn’t even know was missing.
The genius of this sequel is its psychological core. Sure, there is action and suspense aplenty, but the heart of the story is the character of Bourne. And this time we are given a sense of what is actually inside his head, what is tearing at his resolve and keeping him up at night (literally). That aspect of the story causes the action sequences to play second fiddle. Everything that happens just enhances the torment that Bourne feels, that we feel with him, and we end up hashing out the story as if it is our own. It’s been a while since I was fully engaged in this way during a film. And I credit Matt Damon and Karl Urban for almost all of that.
There were quite a few players in this second story that I found captivating. Joan Allen is terrific as a CIA honcho whose main purpose is actually to find the truth, whether that sits with Bourne or not. Gabriel Mann and Julia Stiles were also great, though neither had much screen time before their relevance ended. (Stiles’s performance did hit my emotional core in her limited time.) And Franka Potente was gloriously written in a tender role, a comforting respite for Bourne’s ravaged psyche.
Everyone and everything just seemed to click in The Bourne Supremacy, and I could easily have watched for another two hours without being tired or bored. This film is tighter than the first one, deeper than the first (despite a rather sudden revelation that seemed to rush the ending into a tidy little box). It wrapped up most of the questions that were left open in The Bourne Identity, but it also left me wanting more of the character. Matty has stated that he doesn’t see where Bourne could go after this story, but I know there were three books by Robert Ludlum, so I hope that’s not the case. I’m not ready to let go of Jason Bourne just yet, and especially not after learning his real name in this movie! Plus, if a third film can improve upon the most spectacular sequence of stunt driving ever filmed (Karl Urban did his own, by the way), then a third film must be produced. I can’t see how an audience could complain.