Damon is Bourne to Run Again and Again
“Spatial disorientation” is the term pilot’s use to describe the feeling when you can neither discern up from down and your brains are effectively scrambled beyond visual coherence. It’s a circumstance that’s led to many a fatal crash. It’s also a good way to describe the effect of director Paul Greengrass filming of “The Bourne Supremacy.” His frantically paced, mostly enjoyable story nearly crashes and burns from its own intensity through the overuse of migraine producing hand-held camera techniques. Many of the elements that made the first installment, “The Bourne Identity” so compelling-a gradual uncovering of CIA agent Bourne’s (Matt Damon’s) hazy past along with a solid narrative of the amnesiac’s determination to find his true identity are missing. Though the trailer hints at a tale of revenge, “The Bourne Supremacy” is primarily a series of electrifying getaways, near-misses, car crashes, combined with the occasional cat-and-mouse dialogue. Damon is excellent once again proving his against type stoic performance in the first film was no fluke. It’s a far more physical performance in the sense that we learn almost nothing new about his character. In “Supremacy” we never see him eat, drink, listen to music or mess with a girlfriend. He’s too busy border hopping-you can get dizzy just counting the countries (India, Germany, England, Russia, Italy) throughout his attempt to discover who framed him for the murder of a CIA agent in Berlin. He’s forced to confront the Agency again led now by Pamela Landy played by Joan Allen (who has perfected the ice-woman role, perhaps that’s because it’s her lone interpretive skill?) Retuning are actors Bryan Cox (more screen time = good) Franka Potente (less screen time = bad) and Julia Stiles (about the same screen time = about right). The action sequences are relentless and exhausting and camouflage, to some degree, the lack of intrigue that one should expect from any Robert Ludlum linked film, even if its only borrowing the popular novelist’s characters. “Bourne Identity” with its old school tendencies benefited from the restraint of using modern technology to heighten suspense and in so doing had one of the best car chase scenes in recent years. “Bourne Supremacy” on the other hand, tries to up the ante and depends on technology to create its thrill a minute video game intensity. Old school versus new school. Someone forgot to tell the producers that it’s not always wise to fix what ain’t broken. Still, a film so dedicated to its riveting pulse while never pandering to cliched formula must be admired. The “Bourne Supremacy” puts the drama in Dramamine.
Rated PG-13 for violence and profanity