The Gustavian Weekly

Jason should not have been Bourne again

By Ben Keran - Staff Writer | November 11, 2016 | variety

The long-awaited fourth installment in the Jason Bourne series falls flat due to the misuse of the movie’s “realism.”

The long-awaited fourth installment in the Jason Bourne series falls flat due to the misuse of the movie’s “realism.”

Convenient.Paul Greengrass’s Jason Bourne is extremely convenient.

From cartoon-like falls from tops of buildings, to CIA incompetence, Jason Bourne is not the film you are looking for. This is a film that takes everything that the original trilogy was known and respected for- the wit of Jason Bourne, relativity, and realistic consequences to actions- and just completely tosses it out the window for complete gut-punching madness.

Jason Bourne continues the series’ one ever-developing plot in which a high-level government figure is not playing by the rules, and it’s not okay. Of course, change never happens from within the government, so they (I’m not using pronouns on purpose, I’m actually not sure what the other side is? Hackers?) dig up Julia Styles’s character to throw herself at Bourne with a nice and tidy bit of plot-filled information.

What follows is some of the least compelling portrayals of technology I’ve seen in a long time. For example, the film is set in 2016, yet a “world class” hacker still uses a phone with a keyboard. There’s even the Internet’s darling “enhance” feature where a blurry picture suddenly is no longer blurry.

Of course, identifying the inconsistencies in technology can be drawn up to my own knowledge, but that is far from the most worrying part of the latest edition to the Bourne franchise.

Jason Bourne revolves mainly around an international conversation about government surveillance of its citizens and the morality of said surveillance.

While you could attack this film for attempting to deal with an issue six years too late, it is nothing compared to the lack of dialogue around this central theme. Never in my life have I seen a movie so disinterested with its central topic. The phrase or something similar to the effect of “that is the question” is thrown around more than the name Jason Bourne (not actually, but it’s a lot). It is beyond frustrating for a film to use a character with such an interesting story arc, but come to no conclusions about him or the world he belongs to.

I also worry about the suggestions this movie makes. I have faith in Paul Greengrass as a human. I don’t believe he really thinks the rest of the world is some kind of cesspool or that there is really one man out there who can “make America safe again.”

I think you see what I’m getting at.I think Paul Greengrass’s Jason Bourne is a manifesto for Donald Trump.

In a world where every country that isn’t America is constantly being terrorized by either its own citizens like how Greece is depicted here, or by actual terrorists who are gunned down at random, Greengrass is using (again, unsure if it’s purposeful) his franchise based in “realism” to say that: yes, the world is a terrible place with only evil people who only do evil things.

Even the entirety of the American government is something to be afraid of. “Hey! They have a terrible approval rating, let’s capitalize on that!”

This film is a very real support of the fear that nothing matters anymore, and that every negative stereotype you’ve heard before is true. The government is evil, especially the heads of security. Syrians and Iraqis are jihadist terrorists, and the people out of Silicon Valley (especially the Indian ones) are stuck up brats that are ruining our freedom!

It feels as though all the writing is aimed towards making sure that two, admittedly amazing and beautifully choreographed chase sequences, happen. The rest is just filler. The portrayal of ideas and themes in the editing is so blatant that we either read them in unbelievably direct text on objects, or someone actually says what the film is trying to convey, out loud.

And that’s all just assuming you can make it through two hours of some of the most gut-turning shaky cam I’ve ever seen. The camera never stays relatively still for more than 15 seconds, and uses so many zooms it’s almost like they don’t have anything interesting to shoot… oh yeah.

In conclusion, everything that made Jason Bourne more cool and original than James Bond or Mission Impossible is completely gone. The writing is empty and its overarching themes and purpose are worrying at best. The only way I think I can describe my feelings correctly is to say Jason Bourne feels like a tribute rather than an actual Bourne movie.

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