Robert Ludlum created the Jason Bourne character in his 1980 book The Bourne Identity. Bourne is a CIA agent who has amnesia he suffered from a failed mission.
So he is set up to be a fascinating character, as he has the skills he was trained for in terms of fighting and deduction. But who is he? How did he get these skills? He can’t remember. Jason Bourne struggles to figure out his past, and this is what drives him in this movie. And we see this theme again in the next books and in the movie series.
The Bourne Identity is a movie with not too many scenes that seem to be inspired by other movies. So, original concepts abound. The amnesia of an agent, the chases, the 4-story freefall, all appear to be unique ideas for a film at the time.
But, we will look at the key scenes, draw some connections to other movies, and see if we can gain any insights:
- Amnesia is not new to the Bourne series. Is it portrayed accurately?
- Other movies mentioned: Two in the Dark(1936); Random Harvest (1942; Street of Chance (1942); Stage Fright (1950), Female Fiends (1952; The Groundstar Conspiracy; Memento (2000), The Long Kiss Goodnight (1996); Total Recall (1990); The Long Kiss Goodnight (1979); Finding Nemo (2003); The Fugitive; US Marshalls; For Your Eyes Only; The Master Touch; From Russia With Love
- The car chase introduces a chase alla For Your Eyes Only with the Citroen, only here it is a beat up Mini.
- ... read more
As the first in a series, it prepares us for more to come. And we get more with Matt Damon as the lead character, and we get one, The Bourne Legacy, where Matt Damon is not really in the movie. They closed out the series, at least for now, with Matt Damon returning in Jason Bourne.
Come along – let’s dissect the key scenes, and see if there are any other connections to spy movies before or after.
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- Doug Liman
- Matt Damon
- Franka Potente
- Julia Stiles
- Chris Cooper
- Brian Cox
- Clive Owen
- Paris, France
starring Richard Chamberlain and Jaclyn Smith
The movie starts with crew on a boat in rough seas that sees a body floating in the water. It is Jason Bourne and he has lost consciousness.
After getting off the boat, Jason is sleeping in a park. Two police officers approach him and ask him for his papers.
This scene is a CIA briefing of Nykwana Wombosi, former leader of a country who is now in exile.
Jason Bourne goes to a bank in Switzerland and gets a safe deposit box. This was in the information in the metal object Giancarlo finds in Jason’s hip at the beginning of the film.
Bourne walks into the embassy just as the Swiss police show up to arrest him for the incident with the police officers in the park.
On the way to Paris, they stop for gas and food in a restaurant.
Once they get into Jason’s apartment, he gets calls the last number dialed and gets a hotel.
After they leave, the police spot him again and there is a car chase.
Not many movies have stairways as part a car chase.
The next morning Jason senses a problem. The family dog is not around.
Jason confronts Conklin in the safehouse at gunpoint.
The movie ends with Bourne finding Marie in a shop/restaurant selling on a Greek island.