Two years ago, Jason Bourne thought he had walked away from his past. But now, his past is about to return. Bourne and Marie have maintained their anonymous, underground existence at the cost of permanence. Fueled by splintered nightmares and haunted by the past he cannot remember, Bourne moves Marie from city to city, trying to remain one step ahead of the threat implicit in every unexplained stranger's glance, every "wrong number" phone call -- that at any second, without any warning, he might get pulled back into the world he hopes he left behind. When an operative appears in the sleepy village that has been their latest home, Bourne and Marie collapse their lives and head out. His past at the door, their only chance now is to run. But once a line is crossed and the stakes in a new global game of cat-and-mouse are raised, the Jason Bourne created by Treadstone -- the covert, now dismantled operation that spawned cold-blooded, professional assassins -- returns. Two years ago, Bourne walked away from the deadly world that created him with a promise of retaliation should anyone attempt contact. Now that that world has indeed come calling, Bourne intends to keep his word. They should have left him alone.
It may sound odd to call a chilly paranoid thriller entertainment comfort food. But in the wake of 9/11, this globetrotting post-cold war melodrama full of standard cloak-and-dagger intrigue has the reassuring aroma of a home-cooked meal. There are no jihads or terrorists in sight and no apocalyptic scenarios, only dirty little secrets, as spies, counterspies from Russia and America tangle in a grubby story involving oil, sold secrets, murders and cover-ups. In this sequel to "The Bourne Identity," many of the major hands who created the first film have returned, including Matt Damon as Jason Bourne (Matt Damon), the C.I.A.-trained assassin who can't remember his name or exactly why he's being hunted by everybody. As before, he spends almost the entire movie on the run. The movie reminds you that rhythms of film editing and collage making have allowed Hollywood to make the chase movie a surefire format. Plot and character ultimately don't matter much in a movie that's all about building and sustaining a mood in which visceral and emotional rhythms are blended into a high-gloss thrill ride. — Stephen Holden
2004-07-23 | Stephen Holden | Read the New York Times Review of The Bourne Supremacy