Wednesday, August 17, 2016

New Bourne with old female tropes


By Moira Sullivan

I have followed the Bourne franchise for the first three installments and even when Mat Damon was replaced by Jeremy Renner for the last installment. Now that Jason Bourne it is out, it would have been better if it HAD been Aaron Cross and not Jason Bourne continuing in the story arc. What Paul Greengrass , director of the second and third Bourne’s, has done to revive the franchise leaves it just a little warmer than stillborn. In trying to stay current it doesn’t work to create new blood out of cardboard characters and plot design.

Mat Damon is back and is the executive producer of Jason Bourne. There are many disappointments in the latest version. There is a still a creepy old guy at the helm (Tommy Lee Jones as CIA director Robert Dewey, looking very decrepit indeed) and a young woman on the inside of the CIA that will try to help Bourne or get co-opted by Bourne or Bourne will fall in love with-  though not in this film. Tge disappointing aspect of Jason Bourne is that Alicia Vikander brandishing a remarkably plastic name - Heather Lee, quickly moves up the chain of command and could have had a great role in a role that is not great. Pamela Landy (Joan Allen) abundantly outsmarts her. Lee represents today’s gutsy soul snatching Millenial, a CIA cyber head who went to Silicon Valley think take Stanford with budding leadership entrepreneurs. In a plot maneuver a little like Harvard alumni Rosamund Pike as M16 double agent Miranda Frost and South Korean Colonel Moon played by Will Yun Lee in Die Another Day, Lee went to school with the visionary Millenial - Aaron Kalloor (Riz Ahmed),  a guru for a social media enterprise that is compromised by his early involvement with the CIA. Aaron Kalloor sporting tennis shoes announces there will be no invasion of privacy with his site 'Deep Dream' to a jubilant primarily Millenial audience.  

Vikander who is only seven years younger than Julia Stiles gets to stay longer on screen than Nicky Parsons. Lee is an empty sign in an exchange system between men --her stereotype shifts from arrogant know-it-all, patsy and yes man to victim and manipulator. Her meaning changes within a communication system among men –from the Director of National Intelligence Edwin Russel (Scott Shepard) to CIA director Robert Dewey to operative Jason Bourne and back to the Director of National Intelligence.

Bourne resurfaces through intelligence operative Julia Stiles as Nicky Parsons who is still out there in hiding like him. She finds information on the black ops he has been a part of and contacts him at great risk in a surveillance world where cameras are everywhere. Someone is still out there that killed Bourne's father referred to as the Asset (Vincent Cassel) The incident shown in flashback not just once but twice in case we need our memory prodded. The film’s journey begins in Iceland with Cyber hacker activists and continues to Syntagma Square with protesting Greeks, to Berlin with cloak and dagger plain clothes secret police, and finally to Las Vegas with more of the same in suits with head wires. In the Nevada tinsel town, an expensive and unimpressive car chase finale with invasive screeching tires, gunned gear stripping motors, twisted metal and burning rubber fail to launch Jason Bourne from its predictable plot twists.

The worst message of the film is that although the old guard of surveillance run by Robert Dewey is fashionably out of style, cyber brat Heather Lee in a new Millenial leadership is out to bring in all her own people, young people, to the CIA, people like Aaron Kalloor. Both schools seem equally inept—the old school that assassinates asset threats and the new school that tries to use assets in hiding like Bourne and if they can’t, kill them.

Surveillance and invasion of privacy is the subject of the film whether it be black ops ,white ops, assets, rouge operatives, or malevolent or maverick intelligence officers. Facebook subscribers continue to supply intelligence organizations with phone numbers, addresses, likes and dislikes, check ins, photographs, interests and background information. The premise of this Bourne pits the existence of cooperative intelligence against secret government black ops and the Deep (Dark)

Web in a nonsensical thriller. The new guard headed by Heather Lee will hopefully bring clarity to the questions raised in Jason Bourne, if Lee is allowed to do anything as a woman in command.



© 2016 - Moira - Air Date: 08/17/16
Movie Magazine International

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