The Bourne Identity Review
A fishing trawler sails through the night. Whilst most of the crew aboard play cards, a deck hand spies a body floating in the sea. Bringing it aboard the crew realise that the man is still alive but has two bullets in his back. When the man awakens he is disorientated and grapples with a member of the crew. Despite finding himself imbued with many skills including martial arts, he cannot remember who he is, how he ended up in the sea or who wanted him dead.
The first thing to note about this new release of “The Bourne Identity” is it's timing; due for release on 23rd July 2004, “The Bourne Supremacy” is the second in the trilogy of books written by Robert Ludlum and this set seems to have been released to drum up interest in the series just in time for its release. The second thing to note is that despite the cover promising an “All new beginning & ending”, these are not properly incorporated into the movie (see the extras for more details) and are pretty much only switchable bonus features.
The movie itself is an unusually cerebral thriller which eschews the normal action thriller pattern. What it most closely resembles is the early spy movies before the genre got too bogged down in supercars and gadgets (MGM take note). As Matt Damon comments in one of the sets many features, the action in the movie is tied into and progresses the storyline. At no point do you get the feeling that an effects scene or explosion has been dropped in to fill space. What the film does do though is deviate from the book; Carlos the Jackal never appears in the movie with the whole subplot being dropped. Jason Bourne's journey through the story is also different. In the book (without giving away too many plot points) Bourne thinks he is a bad guy and then starts to uncover the truth whilst, in the movie, he doesn't know anything about himself and begins to believe he may not have been one of the good guys after all.
Reasonably well paced, for the most part well-acted and gripping despite its (nearly two hour) running time, The Bourne Identity is a pretty good movie adaptation of a very complex novel, but what of the set itself?