For a long time, the “spy film” genre was basically defined by the James Bond films – which is no bad thing, for the most part – but sometimes the disadvantages of it is the fact that people sometimes stick a little too closely to the blueprint. This film tries something differently, and for the most part, it does work quite well.
The Bourne Identity is about a man, possibly called Jason Bourne (played by Matt Damon), who has lost his memory after being found floating in the water with two bullets in his back. Having no other information outside of a capsule found concealed in him which leads to a bank in Zurich, he makes his way there only to find that things are a little more complicated than he would have liked, and find himself in a race against time to rediscover his memory before he lose his life.
It took me quite a long time to watch this film, I remember, because I was warned by someone telling me that there was quite a bit of “shaky-cam” going on. Well… For the 99.9% of the human population that utterly loathes “shaky-cam”, there is a fair bit going on at the beginning of the film, but I didn’t detect anything of the kind after Zurich, I must say. Anything that was there seems to be the more standard type of camera work. (Saying that, I then started watched “The Bourne Supremacy” and for the first 10 minutes there were just too much “shaky-cam”, that I eventually just had to stop watching it, it was just utterly horrendous, and really does completely ruin what might’ve been a decent film).
Although I wouldn’t primarily call this a “spy film”, at least not the regular type of spying, I can see and understand where people are coming from with this, because it is about the fact that the people involved are doing work which involves surveillance, false identities, that kind of thing, as well as the less realistic – but more exciting – of the spy genre, which tends to involves guns and the like. (I think most people know something about the realities of spies, and the honest fact is, it’s really nothing like what the films tends to show us!)
However, it is refreshing to see a different style of spy film. Like I’ve mentioned before, the spy genre is really taken up with James Bond, and sometimes you’d like things to be a bit different – saying that, I’m not sure just what the Daniel Craig Bond films are like, I’ve had pretty much zero interest in seeing any of them.
The film strikes me as a fairly standard Hollywood type of film, just put it on, switch off your brain, and just let the action kind of wash over you. It’s not something you really have to think about, and it’s not something that will last long in the memory. I’ve just seen it, and I’m struggling to think of any real lasting stick-out points. Maybe there aren’t any. But I know that while I was watching it, I was somewhat interested in what was going on.
Frankly speaking, I honestly wouldn’t watch this again, unless I was visiting someone and they’d had the film on. It is a nice change of spy films, but to me, there’s nothing that really sticks out, and my impression of it – apart from the minor use of shaky-cam – is that it’s really a fairly standard film. For that reason, I’m giving it 2.5/5.