Film Rhetoric takes a look at the Jason Bourne saga and discovers what worked so well and how the characters mirror our every day life.
Jason Bourne has had a troubled life. He wakes and discovers that he is a completely new person. He discovers that he was someone who took people’s lives only because he was told to. He is unable to keep anyone in his life whether it is someone he is romantically involved with or friends. Some leave because they are killed for his connection with him while others are arrested and arraigned for aiding him in what may be viewed as right. No matter how you cut it he has lived a hard life since his character was introduced in the 2002 film, “The Bourne Identity”. The film directed by Doug Liman introduced filmgoing audiences to the character.
Throughout the following films, “The Bourne Supremacy” and “The Bourne Ultimatum” we were invited to share in Bourne’s adventures. For these films, Director Paul Greengrass replaced Doug Liman and gave the franchise a new look. This was most obvious with the “shaky cam” technique that Mr. Greengrass seems to be very fond of. As with any successful sequel the stakes were rose extremely high and the plot was successfully complicated to heighten the feelings of tension and stress. This appealed to many viewers while others were turned off by the realism, grittiness and advanced pace of the films. This trilogy never aspired to be a summer movie that attracted a casual crowd. It fostered and nurtured an intelligent breed of action fans that other films of the time hadn’t yet.
With Jason Bourne as our viewpoint the protagonist has always been the anonymous common man living in our world today. With the variety of locations shown in the films it is demonstrated that the political and governmental machinations of the United States of America reach every corner of the globe and affect billions of people. From India, to Africa, to Greece, to Russia, to Spain to New York itself these plots and aims of the USA hit home wherever your home might be. While the antagonist was very blatantly defined as the American Central Intelligence Agency. In the films the CIA found the moral ground to justify the authorized assassinations of world leaders and other individuals to ensure that their goals were met. This is easily dismissed as matters of national security. This ambivalence towards the value of human life and the valuation of “the company” rings true and real in the world today.
As we return to present day and the new film, “Jason Bourne” has been released we have the privileged to continue to watch Bourne experience and deal with the repercussions of his actions and his past. After escaping the machinations of the CIA he has found himself trying to atone for his sins with no way to know when he has given enough for this atonement. He has become a full individual completely disconnected from the rest of his community due to his “rightful” distrust of his government. It is only by making new allies and finding a reason to coexist within a community is he able to find who he is and who he should be.