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Very good spy/action/thriller movie
destinylives5220 August 2016
Matt Damon plays Jason Bourne, a highly trained, U.S. spy whose wounded body is found floating in an ocean by a fishing boat. With no memory of who he is and what happened to him, he has to piece together how he came to be shot in the back and left for dead; and most importantly, who and what he is. But Damon must do it fast, as time is running out and the ones he worked for are sending assassins to find him. "The Bourne Identity" is top-notch spy movie, filled with action, suspense, and a mystery that is slowly explained as the movie goes on. Matt Damon is well suited for the role, and with the help of fancy editing, he comes off as a martial arts expert who can quickly dispatch multiple foes in a few seconds. The movie moves along very fast, making the near two hour running time feel like it's thirty minutes shorter than it is. Fast pacing and a likable hero (Damon) are two big strengths of this movie that fans of spy/thriller/suspense movies should not miss. My most memorable, movie moment of "The Bourne Identity" is the scene when Damon evades the police with an original Mini car! Hey, it's not the car, it's the driver that counts.

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Hooray for decent, more realistic spy films!
Sleel17 March 2003
I have grown extremely tired of the typical formula spy film like Bond, or the juvenile stunt exhibition "Triple X." There have been a bare handful of spy films that feature relatively realistic spy thrillers, especially recently with a concentration on spectacular movies that have less substance than cotton candy.

Besides "The Bourne Identity," "Ronin" is the only other recent spy movie I can think of that didn't feature skydiving, bungie jumping, skiing downhill while shooting innumerable bad guys, laser pens, cars with ejection seats, or silicone breasted women with names you'd be vaguely embarrassed to say in front of your mother. Most of the crap that passes for an espionage film has no plot or reason for existing other than to meet a quota of explosions and cleavage in order to draw the summer action film crowd.

While "Bourne" does not have a particularly deep plot, it is consistent and focused. The focus is entirely upon Bourne and how he is to deal with having no memory of his past, being hunted without knowing why. Some people have complained about being confused by the movie. I for one, do not need to have everything spelled out since in many cases this smacks of unreality in the first place; the essence of espionage is drawing conclusions from very sketchy information. If you can't handle a little of that, you probably should stick to Disney films or TV's Scooby Doo where everything is explained in the end. We never find out about what is in the case in "Ronin" and I can live without some information being filled in about Bourne's past.

To those who have moaned about the incompatibility of the book and the movie, seek help. There are probably several things that work in the book that would either be boring and take too much screen time to explain, or would be viewed as cliche to modern screen audiences. As I remember, I liked the book, and I definitely like this movie. I view any movie adaptation as an interpretation of the book rather than a translation from words to pictures anyway.

As for realism, most of the action scenes are believable, no super-gadgets are to be seen, no incredibly lovely models fall madly in bed with Bourne, and the hero shows definite signs of physical vulnerability despite a very high level of training and competance. As someone who has trained in martial arts for over 10 years, unrealistic fight scenes are a pet peeve. The fights in "Bourne" are fast, nasty, and very realistic while still being entertaining for the layman. (And yes, taking a gun away from some idiot who is standing well within your striking radius without getting shot is definitely doable, though I had serious doubts until we tested it for ourselves with plastic dart guns in the dojo several years ago).

While not being perfect, "The Bourne Identity" is, simply put, several grades above the typical spy film. Being focused on an individual level rather than involving itself huge political ramifications lends it another layer of respectability rather than detracting from it as some comments have implied since it remains a human problem on a comprehensible scale. The mysteries that are left are bigger mysteries for Bourne than us, and I think should be viewed as intentional omissions rather than loose ends. The implausibilities are kept to a minimum and the realism to as high a level as possible while still being spectacular enough to meet the expectations of the genre.
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What a Spy Movie Should Be Like These Days
gbheron11 December 2002
James Bond and Ethan Hunt take notice. "The Bourne Identity" is my new standard for contemporary spy thrillers. Gone (or almost gone) are the special effects that James and Ethan rely on all too heavily. Hell, in those franchises the special effects have virtually replaced story and characters. "The Bourne Identity" has a very straightforward story to tell, a mystery that slowly unravels. Spycraft is not all about technical gizmos, but requires human brains and human brawn (and a fair amount of gunplay and car chases).

Set in various locales in Switzerland and France during the winter much of the visuals for "The Bourne Identity" are gray and damp. That's a plus, Monte Carlo and like locales can get boring. Mat Damon is great as Jason Bourne, fished from the Mediterranean mostly dead by gunshot wounds. A total amnesiac, he slowly realizes that he possesses the deadly skills of a well-trained assassin, and that someone is out to kill him. Franka Potente is equally good as the young woman swept up in his life and forced to run with him. Run or be killed.

I can't say enough good things about this movie. Doug Limon, thanks, you did a great job.
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guinness19719 November 2005
I was pleasantly surprised with the Bourne Identity.Very rarely do I get to watch a movie that surpasses my expectations.First of all can I say that there are so many films out there that have the same regurgitated ideas and plot lines.Not many of which have any originality.

This however is one of the exceptions thankfully and pleasantly.Centred around a man who gets washed ashore and with no memory.( OK so this has been done before !!) but this movie was original.A selection box of mystery, action and great acting by all concerned.Haven't seen much of Mr Damion I have to admit but he was impressive.The photography ( can I use that term without sounding like a theatre studies student ?) was very good.In fact watching this movie was like watching one of those middle of the night foreign movies in a funny sort of way.However this was much more.

In a word this film was ORIGINAL.Well directed and well acted. Good to see a film that doesn't have to rely on spectacular special effects and painted backdrops.This film worked because it worked without any of that.( Now I am waffling)
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One of the best spy films around
CAMACHO-423 October 2005
This story has been done several times in the past, most recently in "A Long Kiss Goodnight". It's also true that Doug Liman and the producers created their own Jason Bourne mythology,since this movie is different in many ways to the book. But the truth is Liman takes an old story and puts a new fast paced spin on it.

Matt Damon stars as the enigmatic assassin who just wants to figure out who he is. As he travels from city to city he's followed by CIA agents who want to dispose of him to save their own jobs. He's helped along the way by Marie played by the brilliant Franka Potente. Together they come face to face with the people that want them dead.

The cast is great and so is the story. This film should be on everyone's top ten list.
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Classy entertainment
Boyo-224 June 2002
Maybe its me, but it gives me a familiar feeling when I see a guy in a turtleneck sweater, an overcoat and a rifle. I know its a cliche, but why would this movie re-invent the medium anyway?

I also like car chases through foreign cities, passports and accents. So with all that intact, I liked 'The Bourne Identity' very much. It has all the elements of the genre. You know what you're getting and you get what you want.

There is no point in going over the plot. It gets confusing about 3/4 in but it does not matter that much. Its fun for two hours and that's it.

I have been a huge fan of Franka Potente since becoming mildly obsessed with 'Run Lola Run' and she does not disappoint. She has some real chemistry with Matt Damon and has a very sweet, inviting way about her. She is not traditional leading actress material, thank God, and I credit the producers for hiring her. Even more so when you realize that Julia Stiles has a small part in this movie. I am sure someone wanted a bigger 'name' to be Matt's female lead and it might have occured to more than one exec to switch Franka and Julia, but obviously I am glad that did not happen.

Clive Owen adds another strong performance to his resume. He has only one big scene, really, but makes the most of it. Chris Cooper and Brian Cox are known for their sturdy work and they also deliver here.

Excellent, summertime entertainment. 8/10.
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Don't watch this movie if you think James Bond is someone who you can meet in real life.
philip_vanderveken13 September 2004
Next to Ronin, this is one of the best action / spy movies that I've ever seen. I heard a lot of good critics, but didn't know what to think about it. I only saw it 2 years after it first appeared and I'm a little disappointed that I didn't go watch it in the cinema.

I'm not too keen on movies like James Bond and other stuff in this genre, but this one is a lot better. Normally you see the "super hero" using all kinds of weird gadgets, driving extremely fast sports cars and sleeping with ladies who look more like prostitutes than being normal women.

Jason Bourne however doesn't have all this things, which makes this movie a lot more realistic. The fights are fast and very realistic but still entertaining. The action scenes are believable, no super-gadgets, no incredibly willing women sharing his bed... Our hero even shows definite signs of physical vulnerability despite a very high level of training and competence. In the meanwhile he has to deal with amnesia, while being hunted without knowing why. In the end this is still a man which you can identify yourself with.

I would say: Go watch it when you are a fan of movies like Ronin, don't watch it if you think James Bond is a person who you can bump into on the streets when going out. Personally I would award this movie with an 8/10.
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Fine little action flick
jadortmunder12 March 2006
I can sympathize with reviewers who had read the book and were disappointed by this film and the liberties it apparently took with the story. I've had that happen with books I've enjoyed and it can spoil a film you might otherwise have liked. I never read the book, so I was able to appreciate this film on its own merits - slick, tough, fast-paced and refreshingly devoid of the kind of nonsense that has made the Bond films harder and harder to sit through.

I'm especially impressed by the fights, which, as other reviewers have pointed out, are among the most believable martial-arts-based fight scenes ever seen. No big grand gestures or Olympian kicks - just fast, nasty moves designed to inflict maximum damage with minimum effort.

The cast is uniformly good - even Damon, who is no fave of mine, comes across believably as a man who's trained to hold it all in, but isn't sure what it all is that he's holding in. Cooper, Cox and Owen shine in their all-too-brief screen time. Potente is attractive in a real person sort of way (sigh of relief for this genre) and possesses an inner strength that makes her character's actions and reactions ring truer than what we'd get from the traditional Hollywood eye-candy girlfriend these films normally feature.

From the gritty bowels of the trawler, where Damon awakens to his situation, to the field where he confronts his most deadly assailant, the locations are the antithesis of the travel poster hotspots that Bond so frequently visits. Despite its breakneck pace (handled so well by Liman and so poorly in the sequel by his protégé), the film manages to convey a sense of melancholy that lifts it a bit above the average action thriller. Sorry book fans - it may not be your cup of Ludlum, but it's still a damn fine little action flick.
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Tense, thrilling, and purely entertaining with Matt Damon as the action hero
Screen_Blitz28 July 2016
In 1962, Hollywood introduced British spy James Bond who made an iconic name in the action genre, and the legacy of this household action hero continues today through the longest running film franchise In the 1980s, we were introduced to Bruce Willis' John McClane, a New York cop who served justice as he took a dozen of German terrorists at the Nakatomi Plaza one by one, and his astonishing charisma has lead to a spawn of a few sequels. Matt Damon as Jason Bourne is what some describe as just a modern day James Bond. But with a powerful portrayal by Damon, he feels more like an original character, a spy agent with a highly trained set of fighting skills in both gun and hand-to- hand combat. In this spy action thrilled directed by Doug Liman, Matt Damon steps into what is arguably his most charismatic role aside from his Oscar-nominated performance in 'Good Will Hunting'. Damon plays the title character Jason Bourne, a CIA agent who wakes up on a boy after being rescued by a group of fisherman. Suffering from amnesia and covered in bullet wounds, he travels to Switzerland where he uses his old bank account to put together the puzzle pieces of his identity. He is soon assisted by German woman Marie (played by Franka Potente) to search for his identity but soon find himself by hunted down by ruthless assassins by Black Ops agent Alexander Conklin (played by Chris Cooper). Bourne must escape from the vicious criminals while searching for answers to what they want him for.

Not very many action flicks offer a spectacular mix of tense action and mystery like this action thriller. From the hyper-kinetic action sequences, to it's slick editing, to the highly compelling plot, to the overall likability of the lead character; this film stops at almost nothing to deliver the strong, visceral experience viewers come to root for. In an age where many films of the action genre struggle to find a solid balance of both action and coherent plot development, this one manages to stand out. The plot moves through the title character's search of his identity and the conspiracy that surrounds, and what ensues is a nice array of tension and unpredictable scenes. The fiercest moments show Jason Bourne engaging in brutal martial arts combat against the baddies, complete with stunning choreography and camera-work that, while a bit shaky, successfully express the intensity of the scenes. One of the most intense moments lies in a beautifully shot staircase shootouts scene. The film definitely has a sweet taste in action, and it delivers quite well especially with Matt Damon who's quite energizing vibrant in the lead role. Franka Potente is also very strong as her character who makes a competent supporting character rather than a typical damsel-in-distress. Praise can also be given to Chris Cooper as the main villain. He may not serve as a memorable antagonist, but that's not the point as the lead character's primary goal is not to capture or kill the villain but to search for the reason why he (the antagonist) trying to take him down.

The Bourne Identity is tense, thrilling, and purely entertaining experience for action fans everywhere. This film is easily a household name in Matt Damon's career as well as the action genre of the 2000s. For all looking for a great popcorn flick, this one is worth checking out.
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Realistic Spy Movie
mjw230527 December 2006
Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) is a highly trained assassin, found left for dead at sea. He wakes to find he has no memory of who he is and he needs answers fast if he is to survive the attempts to erase his existence.

The Bourne Identity is excellently paced and brings a great deal of realism to the spy genre. The fight sequences are fast and believable, the car chases are accurately choreographed and the character of Jason Bourne is vulnerable and easy to identify with.

Matt Damon plays the role with apparent ease, he simply slips into the character and brings him to life. As spy thrillers go The Bourne identity one of the best around.

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So, afterall, something happens in Europe too
Come-and-Review26 April 2015
I was so glad to have an action movie that is entirely set in Europe. Not everything happens in the states afterall...

First of all, this movie shows a thing that I negatively reviewed in hunger games, that is well used here instead: shaky shots. We have plenty of them, but while in hunger games they often were used in a too confusing way, here we have a smarter use of them: you can figure out well what is going on despite the shake. that's wonderful.

Can't be that much of a fan of the music and sometimes of Matt Damon's acting homever. Luckily, everything else fills in the small gap well.

Great choice of locations and great fight scenes, together with the absolute no existence of high tech gadgets therefore its realism make me like really much this movie.
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Great movie, 1 very incorrect review
Chris2004T17 December 2004
This is a great movie. Unfortunately one reviewer has no knowledge towards the field of psychology. One reviewer states it's a good movie based on a completely false occurrence, that being amnesia in general. They say it doesn't exist and nobody loses their memory of their identity while retaining knowledge of everything else. This is untrue. I am currently studying to become a psychologist, it's called Dissociative Amnesia. -Dissociative Amnesia - formerly Psychogenic Amnesia, is a pervasive loss of memory of significant personal information. This disorder is characterized by a blocking out of critical personal information. Dissociative amnesia, unlike other types of amnesia, does not result from other medical trauma, such as a blow to the head. The predominant disturbance is one or more episodes of inability to recall important personal information, usually of a traumatic or stressful nature, that is too extensive to be explained by ordinary forgetfulness - Just to prove, it's true, and does happen. So this movie is not based on something made up, similar losses of memory do happen to people. Especially people in a job such as that. So, concluding, this is a great action film, I truly enjoyed this movie along with the sequel, The Bourne Supremacy. Both are I think going to be a couple of the best movies we will see this decade (2000-2010)
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An Excellent Non-Stop Action Movie
claudio_carvalho20 September 2003
The crew of a fishing vessel find a body floating in the middle of the ocean. They bring it on board and the improvised 'doctor' finds two bullets on the back and a Swiss bank account implanted in the hip of the body. The 'body' indeed is not dead but unconscious: he is Jason Bourne (Matt Dammon), a CIA secret and very well prepared agent with amnesia. During the period of fishing in the sea, he recovers his health. Once on shore, he decides to go to the Swiss bank and then to the American Consulate. There he meets Marie Helena Kreutz (Franka Potente, from 'Run Lola Run' and 'Anatomy') and they two together will pass to the most spectacular actions along the film. The great Matt Dammon and Franka Potente are perfect. This movie is everything that 'Tripple X' and 'Die Another Day' intended to be and did not offer to the viewer: a non-stop and excellent action film. Fortunately this screenplay was not in the hands of Tom Cruise, otherwise he would like to perform the role of Jason Bourne and spoil this film, as usual. It is amazing the filmography of Matt Dammon. This great actor knows how to select good screenplays. I am not familiarized with the filmography of Franka Potente ( I believe most of them has not been released on VHS or DVD in Brazil), but in 'Run Lola Run' and 'Anatomy' I liked her performance very much. One thing that called my attention along this movie was her perfect accent in English (with the exception of the 'sh....' expressions in German). The great Chris Cooper and Julia Stiles perform secondary roles along this outstanding action movie. My vote is nine.

Title (Brazil): "A Identidade Bourne" ("The Bourne Identity")
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Surprisingly good and entertaining
TheLittleSongbird19 June 2017
Not that there is any bias intended against the spy film genre, far from it. Nor with films that contain a good deal, or a lot, of action. There are some good, very good even, ones out there. There are also however ones that are too derivative, are basically style over substance (a few not even executing the style particularly well) and favour can-see-it-coming "thrills" and "twists" and bombastic action over telling a good story.

What a pleasant surprise that 'The Bourne Identity' turned out to be. Had heard next to nothing but good things about the Bourne films and had been meaning to check them out for a while, while worrying as to whether they'd be my cup of tea or not. 'The Bourne Identity' not only does what it set out to do very well, with lots of fun and intrigue, but it is also a film that has a brain and respects its audience. It clearly knew what it wanted to be and who to aim it at.

Sure, the basic story is not exactly original, occasionally there is a little routine-ness. This doesn't really matter all that much though, because 'The Bourne Identity' succeeded in giving the genre a considerable freshness on the whole. It does lose its way a little towards the end, when things do become a little too cliché and some things could have been explained better and felt less confused. While still doing a good job, Clive Owen did deserve more to do than what he got, a come and go character that disappears too quickly and early.

However, visually 'The Bourne Identity' is very slick and stylish, special effects very wisely kept at minimum. Am not always a fan of the camera technique used here but here it added to the intensity and didn't feel that excessive or abused, certainly didn't look amateurish either. A reasonably dynamic soundtrack and authentic sound quality helps too, as does astute direction that keeps everything moving along with confidence.

'The Bourne Identity' contains a sharp and well written script that provokes thought, with nothing being confused, rambling or cheesy. The story for much of the length is exciting and has a considerable freshness that is really refreshing. The pacing is relentless, while avoiding the traps of being too hectic or being dull, neither of which it ever is. The action is very well choreographed, confidently performed and keeps one on the edge of their seat.

Matt Damon carries the title role with ease, and Franka Potente provides gutsy support, their chemistry to me was believable. Chris Cooper is fun, and while a little too briefly utilised Clive Owen and Brian Cox both do very good jobs.

In summary, surprisingly good and entertaining and a very good start to the Bourne films. 8/10 Bethany Cox
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A tense thrill-ride with superb action sequences
brchthethird14 November 2014
THE BOURNE IDENTITY is a tense thrill-ride anchored by Matt Damon's strong central performance as a amnesiac assassin in search of who he is. It also kick-started the Bourne series, which raised the bar for intelligent action films. There's not too much need to go into plot details, except that Jason Bourne is a former CIA-trained assassin who is nearly killed when a job goes south. He wakes up with no memory of what happened before and sets off on a mission to find out who he is and why he is being hunted. One aspect I really liked was the balance between action and drama. The action scenes are quite relentless, but the film also allows a relationship to be developed between Matt Damon's Bourne and Marie (Franka Potente), a woman he meets practically by chance. They each have their own somewhat similar problems, and they work together to try and fix them. Normally these types of movies just focus on the protagonist, but here the audience is also exposed and given insight into the other side: the people who are trying to bring Bourne back in. Although some suspension of disbelief is required, the movie does feel grounded in reality, especially considering the recent glut of leaks regarding the NSA. In my opinion, it was nice to see the inner workings of intelligence agencies, and to top it off, a smattering of government intrigue as well. I thought the plotting was very solid, and the performances across the board were very good. The only weak link I found was Julia Stiles as Nicolette, a Paris-based CIA asset who runs a safe house. I thought her role was slightly underwritten, and her performance wasn't as good as the rest of the cast. Moving on, the technical aspects of the film were all excellent. I thought that the action sequences were well-filmed and easy to follow in a geographical sense. The fights were quite intense and well-choreographed as well. Matt Damon makes for a good action star, and this movie is proof of that. The score was also quite good, and helped maintain tension throughout the nearly two-hour running time. All in all, I thought that this was an excellent action film that can hold its own against similar series, like James Bond (which this clearly was intended as). Highly recommended for fans of action films and thrillers. You won't be disappointed.
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Excellent spy thriller
C22Man29 October 2013
The Bourne Identity is the first film in the hit spy trilogy starring Matt Damon as an apparent ex CIA assassin. It comes off as a slick and smart film, avoiding the usual action clichés and having very intelligent ideas that work. The film is high octane stuff mainly thanks to the interesting premise, excellent performances and superb action set pieces.

The plot sees fishermen recover a man's body out at sea with two bullet holes in his back. He is suffering from amnesia and doesn't remember who he was, later discovering his name to be Jason Bourne. A laser device planted in his hip shows him his bank account which is full of money and a gun. Bourne then finds himself hunted by the police and, with the help of a woman named Marie, he searches for answers in Paris which lead all the way to the CIA. The story flows extremely well and has a lot of twists that help in making things more interesting. The general story about Bourne is just an interesting one and you can never really tell where the film is going to end up, which makes it all the more gripping.

The cast is exceptional. Matt Damon is excellent as Bourne, perfectly portraying him as confused and conflicted but still very clever. He does a great job of handling the action, intense and emotional scenes with astuteness. Franka Potente is equally good as Marie. She comes off as likable and her normality gives her a realistic edge, she makes for a sensitive and courageous companion for Bourne. Chris Cooper does an incredibly solid job as the CIA man who is tracking Bourne's every move. He shows him as a cold calculating figure without removing all of his humanity. Brian Cox is great as always as the intense Abbott, Cox's sheer presence shows intellect and cunning. Julia Stiles is very good as informer Nicky. Clive Owen is very good too as the stoic assassin the 'Professor'.

The action scenes are brilliant. The fights scenes are a lot more realistic than most films, which makes them fast, exciting and surprisingly brutal. The fight with the would-be assassin and the climax in particular are excellently shot. The car chase is a highlight, it just feels naturally gritty while still being a thrilling and entertaining set piece. The characters are well fleshed out which is something most action films miss out on. Bourne is an interesting person and as he finds out more so do the audience, he eventually does feel like a real spy and thanks to Damon's intense portrayal he does appear to be fighting for his life. The same goes for the realism as the characters do come across as somewhat vulnerable. The film itself is shot really well, it captures Paris very beautifully and espionage atmosphere is nicely heavy. Its surprising how well paced it is, it seemingly moves quickly but still has time to add hints of melancholy and emotion to the story itself. It is a brilliant style of relying on story and characters with bursts of action and energy, which harken back to older action films. The score by John Powell is great as it is both nicely moody and rather exhilarating when it needs to be.

The Bourne Identity is tense, thrilling and emotive in equal doses as its one of the finest spy films around.
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The waste of a good opportunity.
Alamaise29 March 2003
After reading Robert Ludlums excellent book, i was filled with anticipation before watching this movie, especially since Matt Damon is a very talented guy. So what went wrong? - The movie misses most of the plot from the book, and doesn't manage to come up with one on its own. So it ends up a mediocre action movie with no plot but some nice fight scenes. That sums it all up for me. For those of you who have read the books, think of what this movie could have been, and weep.
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Excellent story makes an excellent movie
raybarber20 September 2004
Always seen the books but never read them - now I will. This is a great cloak and dagger spy story that really works in this format. Matt Damon is not the perfect Jason Bourne, as he just seems a bit 'young' to forfill the role of bond like super-spy. However is acting skills are classy enough that he carries it off well. The story is very fluid and the action is well-paced. Easy to follow and yet never boring, it really shows how a great story is the best place to start with a movie. Done in a very tasteful manner that makes it believable and engaging. I consider myself a 'fussy' movie viewer, but this really was entertaining, even the second and third times!
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Not your average action thriller!!
vishaal81124 September 2015
The Bourne Identity is a spy thriller which, on the surface, is strikingly similar in premise to the James Bond series. However, as the movie commences and gathers momentum, it becomes strikingly clear that the filmmakers have strived to make this movie a lot more focused on the characters and the plot. Even though there is enough action to satisfy the genre fans, the intelligent way in which the story is presented gives us a unique perspective on the life of the lead character.

Jason Bourne, played by Matt Damon, is a CIA agent who was sent to perform a certain task in Europe. At the beginning of the movie, Bourne is unable to recall his identity or the purpose of his mission. As the viewers are also unaware of this, it allows us to see the world from his point of view. I believe that this generates a much greater impact than knowing beforehand the identity of Jason Bourne.

For the majority of the movie, Jason Bourne struggles to remember anything about his past which is well executed by Matt Damon's acting. The CIA plan to capture him and the whole movie is essentially a battle between Jason Bourne and the CIA.

Technically, all aspects of the movie is quite impressive. A car chase sequence, in particular, is pulled off with consummate skill. Due to a run-time of just over two hours, the movie keeps you hooked and the strong writing enables the film to never lose traction.

I would highly recommend watching this movie as it is not a mere caricature of some other well-known spy thrillers. Instead, it is a unique story told by a talented director which has all the elements that are necessary for a timeless classic.
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Surprisingly Good - Fans of the Book Will Not Be Let Down!
MovieAddict201617 February 2003
Matt Damon is Jason Bourne in the 2002 film `The Bourne Identity,' based on the # 1 best selling novel by Robert Ludlum.

The plot goes something like this…

A man awakens on a small fishing boat outside France. Bullet-riddled and without memory, he finds himself pursued by mysterious assassins, all the while trying to gain back his memory.

I recall first reading `The Bourne Identity.' It was a well-written book. Like the book, the movie is also good. Perhaps it is the excellent cinematography of France – it captured the clichéd images I imagined when I read the book. The acting is surprisingly good, as well. Not many people know that `The Bourne Identity' is the second film to be based on Ludlum's novel (see the TV version starring Jaclyn Smith and Richard Chamberlain from 1988), but the newer 2002 version is much better, and definitely worth wasting your money on.

Matt Damon pulls off the character of Jason Bourne with ease, while Franka Potente does not disappoint. Chris Cooper has fun with his role, and a small role by Julia Stiles surprises.

There is a great car chase in this film. Fans of the Seventies and Eighties-type genres will love this movie. It has the feel of a classy thriller, and never resorts to stupidity instead smarts, or action instead of plot.

Of course many things had to be dropped from the book to make this film. That is only expected. But I'm glad they didn't `butcher' this movie up like some other book-to-film movies.

Overall, `The Bourne Identity' is not a great movie, but it sure is good, as well as surprising. Very much so, in fact.

4/5 stars -

John Ulmer
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The best contemporary movie set in Paris about an American.
mjmmke12 March 2013
This is a drama. It is not "Midnight in Paris." The scenes could be the background for any American visitor-the Right Bank Hotel (looks like the Ritz- you just pass through, you don't stay there) - the strange phones - crossing Pont Neuf- the Gare du Nord and its statues resembling a cathedral - the backgrounds along the Seine - La Samaritaine department store - L'Hotel des Invalides and Le Tour Eiffel in the background - driving on the quai's, on sidewalks and down a set of steps. This movie is better than the sequels in the Bourne series due to the romantic interest between Jason and Marie and the humanity expressed in the script vs. the action in the sequels. The script has some special lines, such as Jason's "Just keep on talking, it's relaxing," and "How do I know that?" and Marie's "I said I was your personal assistant, I just asked for it" and "Nobody does the right thing," and the dying agent's line "We always work alone." The story raises issues about organizations which tend to eliminate their own members. In the end, truth and justice win out on an individual level, if not a societal level which, it seems, was the author's message.
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The name is Bourne, Jason Bourne...
MaxBorg8919 December 2005
Sick of all those recent spy flicks (I don't need to name them, you know what I'm talking about) where plot and characters are buried by hundreds of visual effects and everything is the same movie after movie after movie? Then try The Bourne Identity, which brings new life to the genre. It's got everything you're after: intelligent story, believable and likable characters, and yes, action too, but it's realistic action, not some Matrix-style kicking.

The most intriguing aspect is arguably that the hero is a vulnerable human being. In fact, at the beginning of the movie he is found half-dead in the French sea. Once he recovers, this stranger (Matt Damon) is stunned to realize he can speak five or six languages fluently, but doesn't remember where he learned them, or anything that happened prior to his awakening for that matter. The only clue he has is a bank account number in Switzerland, which reveals his name is Jason Bourne and he 's involved in some kind of classified activity. Unfortunately he doesn't have much time to sort things out, as his superiors (Chris Cooper and Brian Cox) think he has deserted and decide to take him down. With only a German student named Marie (Franka Potente) willing to help him, Bourne must put all the pieces together and find out exactly who he is before it is too late.

Director Doug Liman and screenwriter Tony Gilroy have made their own version of The Bourne Identity (Robert Ludlum's novel is almost completely different), but who cares, as long as the movie works? It's one of the best spy stories ever made, and it looks like something that could actually happen (all of Bourne's weapons can be purchased by an average citizen). This is the anti-Bond, a man who actually gets hurt and would rather be left alone, and his vulnerability is grippingly conveyed through Damon's powerful performance. If there is a defect, it has to be the fact that the film's focus is almost entirely on the protagonist, overshadowing a fine supporting cast (especially Cooper and Clive Owen, whose turn as the Professor manages to be much more than a stereotyped "silent killer" pantomime).

Probably the most interesting action movie of 2002, with an even better sequel continuing in the same direction.
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alicedrummer19 April 2003
This is one of the most hyped up pieces of junk I've ever seen. I really don't understand what made people like this movie so much. Everything in the movie was extremely predictable with no twists in the movie at all. I found the movie extremely pointless to watch. I would only recommend it to someone who can't normally predict what's going to happen in the movie, so it can make them feel better about themselves.
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Before Watching: The Bourne Identity (2002)
josephrygaard15 July 2019
"The Bourne Identity" (2002) is the first installment in the famous Bourne-franchise. If you want to get as much out of it as possible, there are a few things you need to keep in mind before watching:

Some attention needs to be paid to the minor characters, especially the different assassins. The more you understand and get from the first half, the more sense the second half will make.

The Bourne Identity has a bit of everything - tension, sensuality and surely violence. Neither part, however, is overly prominent (except perhaps the violence in the third act), to the degree where it is detracting from the overall story and characters. The focus stays steady, and the tone doesn't shift very much throughout the runtime. Not a lot else needs to be said - prepare for a thrilling dive into one of the greatest action movies of the 2000s.

My overall grade: 8/10.
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A triumph
csgowns2 May 2012
Having been a fan of the book, I was very impressed with Matt Damon as Jason Bourne, in fact, the whole film was with great pace, brilliant camera work and directing.

I love films that are more than about the casting and the way they get made, this had a gripping approach throughout that aims to please the audience, not many films have this these days, so it's refreshing.

I know a good film is really good when I have to go back and watch it again and again, I saw this 4 times in 1 week, the only other film to do this with me was Peter Jacksons The Two Towers.

It's an outstanding film that will hold you to your seats until the end credits role
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