Bourne Ultimatum Analysis Essay

Clearly enough of you made it to the theaters to see Jason Bourne over the weekend, as the film raked in a cool $60 million at the box office. Which comes as little surprise; the fifth film in the espionage-franchise marked the return of Matt Damon to the titular role, and served as a much-needed reminder of what made the series so great in the first place.

Well, him and the heart-stopping action. The latter element is rarely given enough credit to the success of these films, but a new video essay breaks down just how important and innovative the fight scenes in the original trilogy were to the entire action genre.

Coming in hot in 2001 with The Bourne Identity, the video shows that despite its intense fight choreography, it very much played into the tropes of the era, playing with music to easily build tension within the audience.

Things changed when Paul Greengrass stepped into the director’s chair for 2004’s The Bourne Supremacy, where the fighting style quickly changed to one that was far more gritty, realistic and brutal. But Greengrass also put an emphasis on movement, designing these sequences to be chaotically fast.

By the time The Bourne Ultimatum arrived 2007, the sequences of action became so blurry and rushed that some audience members became ill while screening it in theaters. The video then asks the question, did the filmmakers go too far?

Watch the full analysis above and decide for yourself. Jason Bourne is in theaters now.

Need more Matt Damon in your life? Check out the lush trailer for his upcoming action epic The Great Wall.

The point of being a spy is that no one knows your identity. Therefore, logically, Jason Bourne is absolutely the best spy ever, because not even he himself knows who he is.

The whole book is a kind of testament to the awesome spyfulness of Bourne, who takes 600 pages to peel back layer after layer of his own identity—Bourne/Cain/Delta, and all the way back to Webb. The more identities a spy's got, and the more obscure these identities are, the cooler the spy, and the cooler the spy novel.

The Bourne Identity is less about finding Bourne's identity than it is about revealing how awesomely obscure that identity is. The search for self is secretly—because everything spy is secret—sometimes a celebration of not having one.

Since "identity" is right there in the novel's title itself, you can find more on this theme in our "What's Up With the Title?" section.

Questions About Identity

  1. Could the novel be titled The Carlos Identity? Why or why not?
  2. Does Bourne's identity change over the course of the novel? Does he become a different person, or does he just get different names?
  3. Jacqueline Lavier is said to have a face that is like "a cold mask of itself" (14.168). Can a mask be an identity? In the novel, is identity something you put on, like a mask, or is it something real beneath the mask?

One thought on “Bourne Ultimatum Analysis Essay

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *