Seriously good, though not perfect, attempt at extending the shelf-life of the Bourne franchise. It’s kind of like reading The Tenant of Wildfell Hall – you would think it was brilliant, passionate, outstanding, moving, if you hadn’t already read Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre.
The basic premise – that because the PR damage caused by Bourne going rogue must be contained, all similar programmes must be shut down at once and their participants terminated with extreme prejudice – is surely far-fetched, but it seems the American cinema-going public is always ready to believe in the vileness of their own government institutions, and if you can suspend your disbelief at the colossal risk and even more colossal waste of such a course, you’ll be in for two hours or so of well-written and superbly acted thriller.
Aaron Cross (Jeremy Renner), the hero of this movie, is different from Bourne in that he hasn’t lost his memory, but his situation is even more tragic in a way – originally a bear of little brain, he has been physically and mentally enhanced by what the agents refer to as ‘chems’ and when he no longer has access to them he can feel himself bio-degrading (shades of last year’s Limitless). He enlists the help of medical research scientist Rachel Weisz, and one of the movie’s strong points is their developing relationship. Their initial confrontation, with Weisz clumsily and angrily evading Cross’s hostile accusations, is very well-done and their gradual drawing together once she has decided to help him is touchingly evoked.
Jeremy Renner as Aaron Cross is outstandingly good. His huge expressive eyes, his wonderfully crumpled careworn face, his absolute conviction, no less than his extraordinary skills at appearing to kill people in novel and entertaining ways, make him a worthy successor to Matt Damon in every way. Edward Norton does sterling service as the steely-eyed bad guy in charge of the containment operation. Joan Allen and David Strathairn do a brief cameo reprise of their roles in Bourne III. There are some longueurs – notably an interminable chase scene near the end – but on the whole a hugely enjoyable, literate and warm-hearted film.
Andrea Hopkins (DI Reviewer), 24/08/12
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