I went to see the movie Jason Bourne today, mostly because I was feeling a bit down about having my bike stolen. It’s the latest in the self titled series of action films, and one of my favorites of the series.
Matt Damon, who has played Jason Bourne in all the movies in the series except the last one, is back with a vengeance, as he finally discovers the deadly truth about how he entered the clandestine CIA black ops program. The movie also provides a little twist by bringing in Jason’s father as a key figure during pivotal excerpts and flashbacks. I won’t ruin the storyline and just leave it at that.
The movie is just packed with action. My favorite parts are the long chase scenes with the backdrop of the riots in Athens, Greece, as well as the amazing Vegas scene. The Vegas scene was long and intense, filled with one of the longest car chase and destruction sequence I’ve ever scene in a movie. It almost seems that half of the $120 million production budget was spent on this long scene, with hundreds of cars meeting their demise in various forms of metal on metal carnage. And when it ends by crashing into the Riviera Casino, it looked so authentic it made me think it actually happened at the Riviera Casino and Hotel!
As always, Jason Bourne is a one man killing machine, seeking his justice against a corrupt and secretive CIA black ops organization headed by a ruthless director, played by the Oscar winner Tommy Lee, that has lost its moral compass years ago by relying on an “end justifies the means” approach of national security. He is constantly hunted by a team of agents, called assets, especially a former black ops assassin who is driven by a personal agenda against Bourne.
One of the peripheral characters in the movie is a billionaire tech CEO named Aaron Kalloor, played by Riz Ahmed. Aaron is the founder and CEO of a fictitious company called Deep Dreams, the world’s largest social media company. It’s clear in the movie he is supposed to represent Facebook, emulating Zuckerberg in his speech, dress, and mannerisms. Aaron is one of the key parts of the side story about the raging battle between national security and privacy rights, highlighting the uncomfortable relationship between big government and the tech industry giants. Just like in real life.
The pressure by governments to always push the envelope, slowly, inch by inch, taking away our individual privacy rights in the name of “safety and security”, will ultimately – one day – result in an Orwellian constant surveillance society. It’s simply a matter a time, regrettably.
The best quote of the movie was by the CEO, Aaron Kalloor, who says, “privacy IS freedom.” Because it surely is. The young generation of today fails to see this, so readily willing to give up their personal privacy rights in this social media age.
I thought the beautiful and intelligent IT wizard character Heather Lee, played by Alicia Vikander, was a bit weak. I much preferred Julia Stiles in the earlier Bourne movies. Unfortunately she makes an early exit from the film.
The ambitious Heather Lee character’s motive is unclear as to why she is willing to help Jason Bourne escape the relentless pursuit of the asset assassin. At first the movies leaves you feeling its driven by some noble purpose or idealogical difference with the power hungry and corrupt CIA director. But the ending leaves us with a different understanding, which I won’t spoil.
All in all, a great action/thriller movie! I like this series much better than the 007 films because it’s far more realistic (it’s still Hollywood though).