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This is the finest and most loving tribute to the fabulous actress Julia Stiles. If you like her at all you must see this. As the title implies this 10 minute short examines the evolution of the Bourne Universe's character Nicky Parsons, the CIA operative played by Julia Stiles. It traces the characters humble, somewhat ambiguous yet fascinating beginnings in The Bourne Identify to her considerably more substantial and riveting role in The Bourne Supremacy and finally to her pivotal and compelling role in The Bourne Ultimatum. Various interviews with Director Paul Greengrass, Producer Patrick Crowley, and co-star Matt Damon are all glowing and lend considerable insight into both the character and the actress. Interviews with Julia herself are intelligent and interspersed with scenes from the movie and go a long ways to answer any questions anyone may have about Nicky. This is an absolutely fascinating film and should not be missed.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
One of the plot points of the entire Bourne saga (on film that it,
seeing as the recent motion pictures trilogy is virtually unrelated to
the Robert Ludlum novels) has been that Jason Bourne has to unravel one
particular memory that's plaguing him in each film. And of course in
doing so the viewer, along with Bourne, finds out a bit more about his
origin. And then of course there is Julia Styles, the up and coming
actress whom we are not used to seeing in action pictures, and
certainly not in relatively short and undemanding supporting parts.
Most movie goers remained were baffled by her appearance in the first
and second parts. Many of us left the movie theaters wondering what was
Julia doing there? Why such a small part? Will she do more in the next
one? In the Bourne Ultimatum, she has the most screen time yet, and yet
less dialog than in the previous installment.
Producer Pat Crowley confesses some concern to casting 19 year old (according to him) Styles in The Bourne Identity (2002), and instructed the make-up and hair people to make her look older. By the time the Ultimatum came round, Crowley is positively gushing about her abilities, as is two time Bourne director Paul Greengrass. The thing is, while most everyone remembers that she was part of the previous two Bournes (Identity and Supremacy), most casual viewers will have forgotten what her character exactly contributes to the story. That's where this 'Evolution of Nicky' comes in. It's more of a recap of what Nicky Parsons did the first two times than a insightful chart of a character arc.
The only thing new we learn about Nicky in Ultimatum, is that she may or may not have had a relationship with Jason Bourne back when he was still known as David Webb. Unfortunately, when you look at the various scenes featuring Nicky strung together as we do over the course of this 'Evolution' it becomes totally apparent that there wasn't a hint of this in the first two chapters. It's a bit like the revelation in Return of the Jedi that Luke and Leia are sibling that so obviously added only to make it legally impossible for the Princess to cheat on Han with Luke.
Luckily, the fact that Nicky and Jason may have been lovers once in a while (or may not have, as the case may be) is left intensionally ambiguous. It is left to the audience' imagination to figure out the meaning behind Julia's lengthy (and I do mean lengthy) pauses and longing stares directed at the former David Webb. To be fair, she also ends up in a couple of action sequences before being put on a train with a new dye job. Well, there's a good chance there'll be another flashback for JB to unravel in the next installment, one involving his past with Julia, perhaps...
On a side note, this 10 minute documentary is part of the 45 minute second disc of the so called Ultimatum 'Ultimate Edition' DVD. The rest of the disc space being filled with the 30 minute 'Big City Action' doc and a 4 minute remix by Moby. These are presented in possibly the cheapest DVD menu on all of the various Bourne DVD's, including the 1988 Richard Chamberlain version. There are more extra features accompanying the movie on the first disc than on this one, but none of those feature Julia Styles quite as much as this one.
6 out of 10
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